I always find it interesting that when I go to study something new, that I have already been pondering it before, so there are already thoughts going before I sit down to study. I read the Ensign quite a bit over the weekend and found many articles from February and March about the First Vision. I added the picture above with the quote, "What happened here changed the world, let it change your life." I have the black and white picture put out by the church above our bed. We were given it as a Mother's Day gift by the bishopric in FM5 a couple of years ago. I loved it then, and I love it now. It is so fitting, and changes our perspective on everything. When we know that the Lord truly did appear to the prophet Joseph Smith, then we know how much He loves us, we know how much the gospel can affect our lives. It is such a huge blessing!
I am working with the Elders to teach a sister in our ward English. She has a good heart, but believes that all churches are true. She thinks that the Lord just wants us to turn to Him, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, it matters not, just as long as we turn to Him. She read the first vision and flat out told me she didn't believe it. That was hard for me to hear. I have had other people say they believe different things, but I don't know if I have ever had someone I thought could believe it, flat out say they don't. She then looked at me incredulously and asked me if I really believed it. I bore my testimony and shared that not only did I believe it, but I know in my heart through the Holy Ghost that it is true. I asked her to pray about it. She said that she would, but she is too set in her ways to change right now. I am hoping that her heart will soften. She is from Iran and trying to learn English. That is her main purpose of going to school. We are teaching her through the Book of Mormon reader and a book that she has of her own. I keep praying that she will see the light. I think it will just be line upon line. If she never accepts the gospel, it will be sad. Yet, I am so grateful for agency and the gift that we are all given here on earth.
I love reading the account of the first vision and remembering all that took place before that led up to this miraculous event. He was brought up in a family where scripture study was important. I often think of how many families studied and knew the bible. I think it was two fold. One to learn to read and write and the other for religious purposes. I think of this society and how it is so much easier for people to turn on the TV or the computer... rather than read from the scriptures. I think they read from them so much. I want my children to know the scriptures that well.
I love the scriptures and how that pattern answers so many prayers. Just last night, the scriptures were such an answer to prayer. Elisabeth has been having a hard time falling asleep. I went to read her personal scriptures with her. It was about Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah leaving each other to serve missions to the Lamanites. They were getting ready to separate and Alma gave them each a blessing and they knew that they could have the necessary courage if they had the Spirit with them. We talked about how scary it would be to go to the Lamanites, who delighted in the shedding of blood, in theft and so forth. It would be really scary, and yet they knew that they could have courage through the Spirit. So we talked about how she could have the Spirit with her before bedtime so she could have the courage to fall asleep. She is such a sweet girl. She has asked for a blessing from her daddy last night. She did fall asleep better. I see how much the scriptures strengthen us and give us answers to prayers.
There is also the story of young Joseph having his leg injury and having it cut out. The strength and determination and conviction he held was such a preparation for all that he had to endure as the prophet. I see how we have trials to strengthen us and prepare us for other times in our lives.
I am so grateful for the first vision and for the prayer of young Joseph Smith and for the testimony that I have of the restoration of the gospel.