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Monday, January 14, 2008

Are you going to the Celestial Kingdom?

Last week at church a neighbor shared an experience her husband had at work. He works for the church and had a General Authority come into a meeting there and ask, “How many of you are going to the Celestial Kingdom?” People all just kind of looked around at each other and said, “Well, we hope so.”

The General Authority responded, “If you’re going there, then you know it.” He expanded by talking about how when we have a deeply personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, then we can know that we are going to go to the Celestial Kingdom after this life. That got me thinking of lots of things I need to do more of or better.

That same evening I heard a story on the news of a man who shot his wife as she got out of the car with her mom to attend church. The story made me sad, but I was even more troubled when I found out that he is a cousin of one of my friends.

My friend said this cousin was a good person who nobody ever imagined would do this. In fact, it put my friend into quite a shock that I know I just can’t imagine. How does one who had a testimony and made good decisions at one point get to the point of now being a murderer? I’d like to think there is just one thing that we can do to prevent ourselves from personal apostasy, but I’m sure it’s a slow, gradual process. I once heard that you fall out of the church the same way you fall out of bed – you weren’t in it far enough.

So, how do I make sure that I stay in church “far enough”? I like to think my family is doing enough, but really I would like to do so much more. We have Family Home Evening, but have we put enough prayer and planning into them? Is my scripture study really studying and pondering or just reading? Are my prayers conversations instead of just lists and requests? And how is it that I forget to teach my children gospel doctrine and stories everyday??? I hope to improve on a few of them (at least!) this year so that I don’t experience any type of personal apostasy, even if it’s just complacency in doing "the basics."

As for my friend with the cousin, the only thought I have for you is a favorite scripture of mine in John 16:33. The Savior says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

I hope in a sense we can all overcome the world as we strive to improve our relationships with Heavenly Father so we can have the peace that comes through this relationship. We definitely live in a world of tribulation and strife, but through the Savior we can have peace and comfort as we do what we need to for ourselves and our families. And on that note I say, I hope to see you all in the Celestial Kingdom! Good luck to us all in our missions here on Earth. I’m grateful to have you along for my journey.

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