Sunday, December 13, 2009

Doing the Best I Can

Today in Elders Quorum the lesson was on Chapter 46 in the lesson manual about the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Usually I don't get too much out of the lessons, and I sit in the back, don't say much, and think to myself how what people are saying is crap.  Yep, I go to church with a good attitude :) I had a typical thought with one of the quotes from the manual, where Joseph Smith basically said that we have to hold firm and be willing to die for the truth, and if we are afraid we will lose eternal life. My thought was, "great, I'm screwed."  That quote didn't get too much discussion in the class, though.  But the very next quote in the manual did, and it was very positive.  It was a quote from a letter that Joseph Smith wrote to Emma from Carthage Jail right before he died. The sentence that stood out and was discussed was this: “I am very much resigned to my lot, knowing I am justified and have done the best that could be done." The teacher asked if Joseph Smith was perfect, and the answer was no, he is a man and no man is perfect. He then asked if we are expected to be perfect in this life.  My thought was "yeah, so I'm screwed again..."be ye therefore perfect even as I am" and all that."  But the teacher gave a different answer.  He said that Joseph was not perfect, but he died content knowing that he did the best he could while he was here. And that it's Satan who puts thoughts in our mind that make us think we're not good enough, we'll never make it, etc. He probably didn't mean to apply it to the gay guy sitting on the back row, but why not? I think I AM doing the best I can...sure, I have things to work on, but I'm honest, I care about other people, I treat people respectfully, I love my Savior, I don't drink or smoke or drug, I'm not promiscuous, and I love my family. My goal is a monogamous relationship with someone I love. I'm doing the best I can with what I've been given.  The only difference between me and everyone else in the room is that I happen to be attracted to men. Now...some people will tell me that Satan is blinding me, and that I'm not doing the best I can. I'm taking the wrong path and selling myself short, breaking the covenants I've made, blatantly disregarding the teachings of the church, etc.  But can't have it both ways. I feel that the gospel is a lot simpler than we make it out to be sometimes.  Maybe this is false doctrine, maybe I AM blinded, but my thinking is that if I love those around me, put myself in God's hands, and do the best I can, that I won't have too much to worry about and I can stand before the judgment bar with my head held high.  :)


Bravone said...

I too think we are way too hard on ourselves. I think you're on the right track.

Ben said...

I really appreciated this post. Sometimes I forget that my best is not going to look the same as someone else's best.

BB said...

This is a great post and I am glad that you had this quote highlighted in Priesthood rather than the other one.
Another one of my favorites is essentially "If we be wrong and end up in hell, we will make a paradise of it."


Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm just selfish but I need examples like you in my life. Keep it up.

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