The Gospel presses forward while it seems we are stuck in ‘Groundhog Day’

One of my favorite movies is “Groundhog Day,” which I have written about on this blog. As many readers will know, it is about a cynical weatherman (played by Bill Murray) who is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he becomes a better person.

The lockdowns have turned the world into “Groundhog Day” for many of us, but of course there is hope, and that hope was made very clear in the words of the prophets over the weekend.

I am still trying to wrap my head around 20 new temples being announced in places like Grand Junction, Colorado and Elko, Nevada. Before the pandemic I went to the temple at least twice a month, and it was usually the highlight of my week. Stuck in these lockdowns, I find it difficult to imagine ever going again, but clearly we will go again, and the thought brings tears to my eyes.

President Nelson’s talk Saturday night during Priesthood Session penetrated my stony heart. It seemed to be aimed right at me. The prophet’s optimism and his accentuation of the positive during the lockdowns gave me hope and reminded me that the suffering of this time will be a blip in the eternities. In terms of the Gospel, things will return to normal soon.

President Oaks’ inspired defense of the US Constitution was a much-needed reminder at a time when so many people seem to think the government should control the actions of others. President Oaks reminded us that the Constitution is about individual rights protecting us from government tyranny.

The international flavor of the Sunday morning session was uplifting and a reminder that we are a growing and worldwide Church.

As the prophets reminded us, we have much to look forward to in the days ahead. This uplifting message was perfectly timed and well-received by so many people. My testimony of the inspiration of Church leadership has never been stronger.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

8 thoughts on “The Gospel presses forward while it seems we are stuck in ‘Groundhog Day’

  1. Geoff,
    I have read and agreed with most of your posts on the covid pandemic, mask mandates, etc. I believe that, generally speaking, the cure will prove to be worse than the disease. I have felt a vague sense of unease as church leaders seemed to give their full support to some of the most damaging (long term damaging) measures to limit the spread of covid. ‘Can’t they see how this is hurting young people?’ I would ask myself. Can’t they see the elderly, who’s only reason for living is to see their grandchildren, suffering from loneliness and depression? Yes, of course they can. But I have to admit that many good things have come from the pandemic. Pres. Nelson is right. I have been blessed this year, even as I have had to put things on hold that I really cared about. The good and the bad come together.

  2. Stewart, good comment. I think we are tested during tough times in a variety of ways, and the last years has been very, very tough for me and my family (and, yes, some good things have happened as well). I am struck by how many times prophets have said that one of the key tests of our lifetimes will be how we treat other people, and this lesson has been driven home even more strongly in the last year. I have tried really hard to treat people around me well, and sometimes I have failed, but for the most part I am happy to report that I get along well with my co-workers, the members of my ward and my friends from other social groups (I have scores of friends through martial arts, and I get along with all of them well). I do my best in my callings in the ward and as a ministering brother, as well as my roles as husband and father. My on-line interactions have been less encouraging, which is one of the reasons I quit Facebook many months ago. Dare to question the narrative on COVID-19 and you are guaranteed to get deranged hate mail from apparently deranged people, but I am happy to report I ignore those comments and emails, so I think I have passed that test, while the hate-filled commenters definitely need some psychiatric help.

    There are other tests: will you stand up for liberty, including other peoples’ liberty, when times are tough? Will you avoid criticizing the GAs even though they may be acting in ways that appear off to you regarding the virus? I am happy to report that I have passed those tests as well — I have consistently stood up for liberty, and I have never criticized Church leaders in private or in public.

    But, upon reflection, the primary message I took away from Conference was the very good reminder that the Brethren are optimistic at a time when many of us are very pessimistic, so perhaps we need to adjust our attitudes. That means I need to adjust my attitude to avoid pessimism, so I will continue to try.

  3. Geoff-I have someone close to me who has struggled very much with our church’s leaders’ reaction to the whole Covid thing – most especially the vaccine, but also other things. I am wondering how you have come to a place of peace in regard to this. She doesn’t want to be critical of them, but she is fully confident God has told her the truth about the vaccine and she is literally so scared of her loved ones getting it, the conversation always turns south quite quickly. For me it hasn’t been as emotional of an ordeal as it has been for her – which is potentially true for you too. I am hoping to find something I can share with her that may (or may not – lol) help her-from you or anyone else who may experienced the same type of dilemma.

  4. Kristin, I am not sure if I have this right, but I think what you are saying is that the person close to you is struggling with the fact that many Church leaders — men in their 70s up to their late 90s – have received the vaccine. Do I have that right?

    If so, the answer is obvious: for people over 70 COVID is extremely dangerous, and getting the vaccine, even an experimental vaccine, makes perfect sense. My dad is 81 and got the vaccine, and I had no issues with it.

    Now, to be clear, I think the way that our dishonest media and politicians and our dishonest thought leaders like Bill Gates have pushed the vaccine is scandalous. There is really no reason for most people under 50 to get the vaccine at this point (although it is possible this could change over time if some of the variants are more harmful to younger people). This whole movement to get children to take the vaccine or they can’t go to school is horrific, and I am really worried about the whole vaccine passport movement, which is potentially a huge attack on personal liberty. So the person close to you is correct to be concerned about how the vaccine is being pushed and how the media is suppressing negative health reactions to the vaccine, and for many other things associated with COVID.

    The prophets will never lead us astray. They did not warn us not to get the vaccine, so they are allowing us to use our discretion and look at our personal situations and make our own decisions. If the vaccine were the mark of the beast, which is what many Christians believe, the prophets would warn us. So, tell the person close to you to be at peace — the Brethren have promised us in this most recent conference that the temples will be reopened soon and that new temples will be built, and that the Church will continue to move forward. I believe in them and their message of optimism is very welcome and should be more important than concerns about the vaccine.

  5. Yes! Thank you! I also told my dear friend that they are all in the high risk group and that is probably a major factor in them getting it. For us in Utah, it was very publicIzed – all over the news and I think that bothered her too.

    I do agree with you that i worry about the vaccine being mandated. I do not want to see required vaccine passports come out of this.

    Thank you for your quick reply.

  6. Kristin,
    Several months ago I too felt troubled by church leaders’ response to the covid pandemic. I was bothered that they were subordinating the work of the gospel to public health officials who don’t share our same priorities. Our public health officials shut down churches while giving a pass to mob violence in the streets. It disturbed me to see church leaders deferring to these same public health officials about what we could and couldn’t do in our church meetings.
    At one point I remember getting a very clear impression that God is in control. He is in control of Covid, and he is in control of governments, mobs, pharmaceutical companies, and yes, Church leaders. He is preparing his people for the second coming of his Son. The impression I received was not that prophets are infallible and that their every decision is heaven-breathed. The impression I got was more like “I’m in control. Trust me. I’ve got this.” That prompting has brought me a lot of peace and helped me to give grace to church leaders who seem to view this situation differently than I do.
    And, as Geoff said in the OP, we really have been blessed this last year. The pandemic response really has brought good things, along with the bad. I will pray that your friend can find peace too.

  7. Stewart,
    Thank you as well for this reply and your willingness to share your experience.

  8. I can’t get enough of your thoughts on this—all of these comments and the OP—they are balm to my soul. I have had many of these same questions and tried so hard this year to stay faithful and trusting of the prophets, and confident that God is in charge even when things seem so upside-down. It is so encouraging to hear that others struggle and manage to come down on the side of faith. It’s inspiring to see others working hard to be humble and be willing to subordinate their own confusion to their trust in God and his church. Any other thoughts on the ways you’ve reconciled serious concerns about the vaccines, mask mandates, lockdowns etc. with trust in God’s will and timing will be eagerly received by me!

    I loved conference too. I am learning to be at peace with a bit of confusion, knowing that God is in control. But I’m still always working on getting better at trusting Him!

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