Last August, I wrote three letters of advice to my children. You know, the children I don’t have. If my Great Life Plan had been on track I’d be contending living with a sixteen year old right now. No easy task to be sure and my hat goes off to all the parents of teenagers out there. You know who you are.
If I were to have a child, there are some things I’d like to say. Just lessons I have learned (usually the hard way) that I’d share. As it is, I will lose out on an opportunity to share my wisest counsel while my child roll her eyes at me and thinks, “My mom really doesn’t know anything about anything.” Instead, all I have to offer is the advice without the moans, groans, and hearing, “This is mom’s lecture #207.” Here it goes.
I’m proud of you for the choices you have made (let’s face it, my kid would be pretty awesome). I appreciate the fact you are willing to come to church on Sunday and that you make it a point to attend your Young Women activities every Tuesday night. You are such a great example to your siblings. Thank you so much for all your help.
Let me ask you this though, why do you attend church? Is it to feel the Spirit of the Lord and to renew your covenants? Those are very important reasons to come every Sunday and to participate in Young Women. It’s as if we can use those opportunities to strengthen our armor and help us get through the week. It is very important that we attend such things to help us resist temptations that might lead us down different paths.
However, I have recently come to learn there is so much more. This new curriculum for the youth instruction on Sundays has helped me realize there is more to conversion than the hearing. What does conversion to the gospel mean? To convert means to “Change something’s character.” When we are truly converted we experience a change in heart which leads to a change in our behavior. The ultimate goal is to become better people. To do better things.
This all implies action. If our behavior has changed we are doing; we are moving; we are acting and not waiting to be acted upon. While the three hours we spend in church every Sunday is crucial, true conversion comes about during the week when we act upon the lessons we learned on the Sabbath.
King Benjamin explained this principle during his great sermon. “And now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:10) This is not a new concept. The Savior explained to His disciples, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17).
Every Sunday we receive at least one invitation. Something for us to work on during the week. As we accept the invitation and work on it throughout the week we gain experience with that invitation. That experience leads to testimony. Our testimony is what will prompt us to make a change in our behavior. The change in our behavior leads to conversion. And when that happens, we have just stepped up a notch on our spiritual ladder.
Personally, I have just started to listen for those invitations throughout a meeting. When I hear one, I jot it down to remember to accept and act upon it during the week. The choice is always mine. I don’t have to accept any invitation if I don’t want to. Do you know what happens when I don’t accept an invitation? Absolutely nothing.
When I do accept, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, a seed is planted, or if there is already a seed, it is nurtured. It is in the doing that we are converted. When we are converted we become. We become a better person, a better leader, a better friend, a better mom, a better daughter, a better disciple of Jesus Christ’s.
Yes, it is important to come to church. Sundays are our bookends for our weekly experiments with the gospel. The Sabbath is just a piece to the overall puzzle though. Each piece is needed to complete the picture of a devoted disciple.
My invitation for you is to experiment a bit. Start with taking a piece of paper and pencil and writing down all the invitations you receive on Sunday. Keep in mind, some will come verbally from a speaker or comment. Others will come as the Spirit inspires you to do something during the week. I promise you that every invite you accept and do will help you become converted.
You don’t have the same luxury that I did when I was your age. I relied on my mom’s testimony and came to church because I really felt I had no choice. So, I was older when I finally stood on my own testimony. In the world we live in today, you don’t get that option. You have to know and you have to wear your own armor. The good news is it is ready for you. You just have to accept and do.
You are already a good kid. This is an opportunity to become better and happier. Will you accept this invite?