I have talked much about my youthful experience, encountering disturbing possibilities about Joseph Smith and polygamy. I have since continued my journey and have found explanations for that history (see my Faithful Joseph series).
But in 1984, I was a missionary in training who wasn’t entirely sure about the Church. However I knew God existed and knew He had told me to remain a Mormon. Though I retained a portion of doubt (a portion of doubt that would remain for decades), this is how I conducted myself. For what it’s worth, this is the only prayer I have ever written down.
il 10 aprile 1984 martedi.
What a marvelous day! It started off slowly, and there were short ups and downs, but classe w/ Sorella Moss was incredible and then ambassadorship – on having a more Christ-like attitude. It was wonderful: No Greater Love, a slide show to “As I have Love You,” and a film about a handicapped man. Then:
[lead to] Consecration.
Then choir and an absolutely incredible devotionale delivered by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. We laughed so hard, and I know I was totally psyched to go to Italy after the two hours(!) were over. Then there was classe di pronuncia w/ Presidente Magistro. “Lasciatemi cantare…. I jazzed to that one and then there was “I vecchi.”
I prayed well and long this morning.
I crawl out of bed–
Mists still clutching
at my mind.
I kneel on the floor
The words come automatically.
With one squinted spiritual eye I look up
to see if heaven’s there.
The doors stand firm and dusty to the sky.
I press on.
“I love thee, Lord.
Help thou my weakness.
Show me my strength.”
I close my prayer
and begin to get up,
but an urging from within forces me again to my knees.
With determination I let the Lord know that I don’t plan to get up ’til we’ve chatted and the doors to the sky are no longer thick with undisturbed gray.
Much later I sigh and say my final goodbyes to the Lord before my day begins.
My dearest friend, I wouldst not that He go, but I know He is always there, if I am willing to truly take the time to knock.
Lord God, bless those that I love, especially those that I love too much. Bless me with peace of mind that I may not concern myself to harmful ends.
Guide me, instruct me in thy ways. By thou my protection and go before my face that I may proclaim thy word to prepared hearts. Let Italia blossom as the rose while I am there to labor–and guide me that my example may be one to inspire others and not turn them to jealousy and fear.
Lord, bless my mind that it may be clear as I teach thy everlasting gospel. Bless my lips that they may speak with the power of thy spirit. Bless my heart that it may brim over-flowing with the love for the Italian people – that mine eyes may shine forth that love to the softening of their hearts. Bless my feet that they may carry me in uprightness and in the paths of the spirit. Bless my ears to hear only the beautiful and worthy that unworthy thoughts might not defile my mind.
Bless my hands that they may work and write righteousness up to thee.
Help thou my disbelief that I may never plant the seeds of doubt to pull down another. Let my performance in all things be consecrated to thee.
Help thou mu emotions, Oh Lord God of Hosts! Lock up my soft heart and bury it far from me ’til the day come when he who has the key should come. Help thou my thoughts that they be pure and undefiled, that I be occupied only with righteous desires.
Oh, Lord, thou knowest better than I the desires of my heart – much better than I. Protect my spirit from idle speculation – show me the way to keep my eye single to thy glory. May I pour out my concerns in mighty prayer unto thee that thou wouldst guide my paths.
Make me a new creature in thee, Lord God, and in thy son, the Savior of all the world, Jesus Christ. May my poor offering find favor in thy sight – may my greatest joy be in thee, may I live and breathe only to bring about thy holy ways.
Guard thou my mouth and stand sentinel that I may speak only righteousness–that through me all may see thy pure love and power to salvation. Purge pride from my heart and fill in it’s place the pure love for my brothers and sisters. Let me not give thought to myself, but let me go forth as thy true emissary, to bring souls unto thee.
Guard my soiled past, my vain past, my idle past, that I may not look back as Lot’s wife. Shape me into such as were Enoch, Ammon and Moroni. Prepare me for the adversity that I would submit to for thy Holy sake, yea holy is thy name, Lord God of Hosts, and there is no other God beside thee, nor ever shall there be.
Bless me to take forth the message of thine only begotten that in Him and through Him and by Him and belief on His holy name many may come to salvation. Bless me as I go among thy lost sheep that my call may be true to thine own, that they might hearken to that voice.
Lord God, curse my timidity and the weakness of my flesh that in all things I may be a fit vessel for thy word.
Lord God, my father and Father of all in the spirit, I love thee and honor thy name. Thy ways are beautiful before my sight and I glory in the graciousness of the Father that bore me and sustains me alway.
I praise thee, Lord God, for the faith thou hast bestowed on me to enable me to pursue thy ways. I bless thee for the surety I have in thy word and the kinship I hold with those voices from the dust. Bless them and tell them of my love and gratitude for them and their mortal lives.
I praise thy name and thank thee for life and breath, raiment and food, lodging and safety, but mostly for the sure knowledge that thou art.
Holy thou art, Lord God of Hosts. Guide me unto thee, in the name of thine only begotten in the flesh, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
One day I knelt,
My Father came
clothed in pure light
To speak with me,
My heart soared and
my mind danced as
our conversation went on.
He comforted me as I cried,
and lifted the heavy burden from my back.
I asked for His holy help
and he blessed me beyond my petitions.
and His laughter echoed mine to the depths of my soul.
“Daughter, your faith is enough,” He said as the pure light formed into mental words.
“One day, if you come to me, we shall talk again,
and after we will talk for all eternity.”
My mind could thing of no more business to keep my dear Kin near,
so my heart provided praises of love
until even such light and delightsome worship
began to show its strain.
“Oh, Father, I love Thee!” shouted the emotion-filled heart–
then closing in the name of the Holy Lamb of God,
I opened my tear-stained eyes
and climbed to my feet
and began again
the process of
Does doubt threaten to tear you from the God you have loved? Fight to retain that love, to know that you are acceptable to Him. Do not bury your testimony in the dirt and claim God is a harsh master. Embrace God and come to know Him. Seek Him as you would a precious treasure or the life of one you love dearly.