Getting ready to become “The Mormon Bachelor” (www.themormonbachelor.com) in the summertime has not been easy. I think it’s because the Lord knows the whirlwind that awaits me and wants me to be prepared. I am convinced that he is allowing me to have specific experiences to teach me specific lessons he wants me to learn at this time in my life. I can feel the power of heaven influencing my life and I want to share. Warning this is probably my longest post ever so endure to the end, its worth it!
Plain and simple what I am about to describe begins and ends with FAITH. Think you understand the entirety of the word? Think again. FAITH is a principle we will continue to learn and improve throughout this life and into the eternities. It is requiring a huge leap of FAITH to go into this “Mormon Bachelor” situation not knowing how it will turn out but acting and hoping it will all be for the best.
I am going into this show BLIND as to who I will be going on these 12 dates with. Rose ceremonies, hometown dates and the possibility of starting a relationship with my future wife? Its pretty intense. Add on top of that the fact that A LOT of people will be watching it all go down. Even more intense. But then again I love to live life with passion and intensity. Ive adopted a come what may attitude deep down and I am acting with much more patience now, less anxiety about the whole process and deep inside I’m saying, BRING IT ON LETS DO THIS!!!
Now I want to take this concept of faith one step further. I believe the lesson that Heavenly Father has been beating into my head and heart as of late is that FAITH can be used by man as a principle of POWER. It appears so plain and simple yet grasping and implementing this one principle can change your life forever. A lot of what I am about to share is my own experience based off of Joseph Smith’s Lectures on Faith from the School of the Prophets in the 1830s and a recent book entitled, Drawing Upon the Powers of Heaven by Grant Von Harrison. I get into some doctrine and the tie it into my own life at the end.
As a preface I want to start out with the basis of the doctrine. Mosiah 8:16 towards the end of the verse states, “…yet a man can have great power given him from God.” Verse 18 then follows, “Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.”
As you read the scriptures there are numerous instances when man has been able to exercise great faith to call down great power from heaven to accomplish a righteous desire. I will give you a few examples.
My favorite because it is the most clear example of faith as a principle of power is in Alma 2:29-31. Alma, leader of the righteous armies of the Nephite people meets Amlici, leader of the evil armies of the Amlicites (Nephite dissenters) meet FACE to FACE with swords in battle. In this Hollywood movie-esque encounter the scripture says in 30 and 31,
“And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, cried, saying: O Lord have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people. Now when Alma had said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword.”
Alma’s experience can be broken down to illustrate the “Using Faith as Power” concept. First it says that Alma was a man of God… he was worthy and on the path to righteousness. There is no using the power of Heaven unless we are on the path to righteousness. Some people could take this the wrong way and say that they are not entitled to any power because they are not worthy because of some mistake they have made. This is not true. Everyone who desires righteousness and is on the path is entitled to a degree of power from heaven. The minute you are on your knees exercising even a little bit of faith the Lord will start sending bursts of spiritual power your way in reward for your faith and repentance.
What is true however is that the degree of power that you can use and miracles you can perform is directly tied to you personal worthiness. Remember that virtue is power also (D&C 121:45-46). Alma “had been exercised with much faith” it says in the scripture which means that he was capable of calling down a greater degree of power from heaven.
In a very literal and real sense power bursts came from heaven and infused into Alma’s body making him stronger to defeat the enemy. REAL power from heaven can be given to someone for ANYTHING that is a righteous desire. In Alma’s case his righteous desire was to be spared so that he could be an instrument.
The Lord cares about all of our lives and can give us power to overcome the adversary in our FACE to FACE daily battles with sin and satan. He will give us power to slay the enemy if we seek it.
Less talked about though is that the Lord can give us power to accomplish our day to day tasks, help/impressions and even confirmations with dating and relationships, quicken your mind for finals week, and maybe even something so small as to make a moms arms twice as strong to carry her small child around all day. The list could go on forever. Anything that is good he can give you power to accomplish. We just have to learn how to access it.
We learned earlier that the degree of power which we can call down or have access to is directly related to our personal worthiness and virtue. It is also directly related to how much faith we exercise. The Lord has said in Ether 12:12 “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them…”. We must do ALL within our power before the Lord ‘s direct intervention.
He is always sustaining us and helping us with his spirit but what I am talking about is a specific goal, cause, or purpose that you have in mind. So we must do all we can by consistently putting forth effort no mater how hard it gets. Then, at some specific moment we need to ASK. When we do that we open the windows of heaven to let their rays shine through. We enable the Lord to give us power when we plead with him. Because he loves us and is merciful he will often concede and miracles happen! When he chooses not to intercede it is usually for greater purpose.
Some other examples of great power from heaven coming to man from the scriptures for your reference…
-Alma’s prayer of faiths was answered among the Zoramites and Alma and his brethren were given power to be missionaries and provided with physical needs (Alma 31:35-38).
-Nephi asks to see the vision of the tree of life his Father saw and he receives that vision and more. His brothers do not because they did not ask (1 Nephi 15:9-11).
-Lord gave Alma and Amulek power to break the prison walls (Alma 14:28).
-Nephi breaks his bow, is shown (intelligence) where to go to obtain food and is able to bring home meat to his family. Later on he is shown (intelligence) how to build a ship (1 Nephi 16, 17).
-Brother of Jared searches for some way to light the barges on the way to the promise land. He brings stones to the Lord to touch. Hand of the Lord comes down from heaven and gives light to the stones. Brother of Jared sees the whole body of the Savior and a vision too sacred to write (Ether 3, 12:20-21).
-Bible stories like Daniel in the Lion’s den, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego who were spared from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, David who slew Goliath and Moses parting the red sea.
These are all great miracles where power literally fell from the parted heavens due to the faith of man. All are pretty amazing but help us realize that with God, anything is possible (Luke 1:37).
2 Examples in my own life
I know now better than ever before that in my own life anything is possible. Now that I have taken a leap of faith with the Mormon Bachelor I am working hard to prepare myself and enhance my life. I am trying to live everyday with the goal to not merely survive but THRIVE and EXCEL. One of my friends Eric Wood who just got engaged said the same statement from a relationship angle, “I am trying to live not like the single Eric Wood but if I was already the married Eric Wood…. ” He wants to be the best he can be everyday. I believe this is what using faith as power is all about. It is about effecting positive change in your life through worthiness and faith. Ultimately we will be improving to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
I have a sign above my door in my room that I see everyday before i go out into the world, it says LEGENDARY. My sister made it for me when she knew it was an inside slogan my friends and I had adopted. Back in undergrad it went so far as to call each other “ledge, or legendaryness…” short and long for LEGENDARY. It’s only fitting that shortly thereafter during my time at BYU Michael Jordan (the best basketball player of all time) ran his ad campaign for his brand with the slogan BECOME LEGENDARY. That is so fitting for what faith is…BECOMING like our Savior…who is even greater than LEGENDARY.
1. Anything is possible. This past weekend I unexpectedly met an apostle, Dallin H. Oaks and his wife Sister Kristen Oaks.
I think i may be one of the only life time members of the church to meet an apostle at a Stake Conference in blue jeans. I was in Southern California for the weekend scoping out a place to live for the summer and to go to the LA Clippers game on a date with the winner of the SHOUT app contest. I was in my element at a basketball game and we ate brunch before at the Original Pantry Cafe, the date was a blast. Anyway, I planned to leave Sunday morning early to be back for my ward so I didn’t bring church clothes. I heard that one of the 12 apostles of the Lord, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife were going to be speaking in a special stake conference nearby. This I could NOT miss. So I decided to stay. I borrowed a white shirt and tie from a new-found friend Saturday night who happened to also serve his mission in Ecuador. Jeans were the best I had for pants so I went in those.
Elder Oaks spoke to us about the Atonement and the love of God and the plan of salvation. He quoted Pres. Harold B Lee as saying that our church is not a retirement home for the righteous but its a hospital for sinners. He then said how Pres. Lee had a lady came up to him after he gave the talk and said thank you so much for what you said about this church being a hospital. You see I am a convert and I always wondered why they called our congregations WARDS!!!
Elder Oaks did say many profound things mostly related to doctrine that were so comforting. He said that if we stay on the path of activity in the church and make temple covenants doing all we can it is not just possible that we will inherit the Celestial kingdom but that it is highly probable !!! We will not obtain perfection in this life but if we are on the path that leads there then eventually we will obtain it not in this life!!! Eternal life is not just living forever, eternal life is God’s life.
I have always loved Elder Oaks and this talk was no exception. Even in blue jeans the spirit could speak to me 🙂 I love hearing the apostles and prophets speak in a setting less formal than General Conference because their true personality and humor comes out.
After the meeting I thought about going up to greet him personally. I had always wanted to meet Elder Oaks…but could I meet him in blue jeans? Then I had the impression that the Lord will receive us however we are found…torn, tattered, broken, and even in blue jeans (our church is a hospital for the sick not a retirement home for the perfect). I made my way to the front because I was determined to shake Elder Oaks hand. He was making his way down an aisle and was about to turn around but before he did he reached his hand through a couple of people and over the top to mine. It was a tender mercy. Then I was with a friend who wanted especially to meet Sister Oaks…We made our way towards her and waited while a sister talked her ear off for a while and then she responded to us. She shook our hands and my friend was able to tell her how she needed her words and then the oddest thing happened. She looked at me and said now explain to me your situation, why are you here!?
I explained why and asked her if she had heard of “The Mormon Bachelor.” She said that she had and then proceeded to give me inspired advice that was much-needed. She was acting under the influence of the Holy Ghost and I could feel it. I had no idea that my trip to Southern CA for the weekend would be so profound. I left the meeting with a renewed passion for life and feeling great about myself. I had been praying for extra motivation and power to accomplish all that the Lord wants me to. Through Elder and Sister Oaks he had granted my prayerful desire in a very direct way. My faith was rewarded with power from heaven. I know they are inspired messengers from God.
The experience reminded me of a time before my mission when I met Pres. Boyd K Packer at General conference in the church office building elevator in between sessions. It was also an inspired event. I felt his power and it motivated me to prepare for and serve an honorable mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador. I am hoping that the experience with Elder and SIster Oaks is also in preparation for major life event! (hah who knows!)
2. Anything is possible. Even an “A grade on a Neuro Anatomy test.
I am sure that all of us can relate in one way or another to struggling and frustrations with school and studying. I am not going to lie, worrying about dating and all “The Mormon Bachelor” stuff happening lately has made it difficult to focus in school. My grades were great at the beginning of the school year but started to slip with so much other stuff going on outside of school. I became frustrated at my inability to balance and get A’s in school. I used the excuse that the first year is mostly basic science anyway and most of it is information that is good for a general base knowledge but not essential to Dentistry. If I don’t want to specialize why try to get A’s? The tests are extremely tricky and I felt like no matter how much more I studied I would get the same average grades because I am a bad guesser on tests. I hear that from people all the time, “I am just a bad test taker!.” Well my response is whatever you don’t like about yourself, try to change it through faith (Ether 12:27).
The Lord can perform miracles and make our weakness become strengths if we exercise faith. Believe it or not I used to be pitifully shy… My parents my freshman year of high school offered me a dollar for every time I smiled and said hi to a girl at school. Safe to say I didn’t make very much money. But I decided I didn’t like that I was shy and through miracles from the Lord (high school friends, girlfriend, mission) I am now the complete opposite! I’m sure my parents are possible regretting that motivation now! (jk)
Anyway so back to school although it may be true that I am a bad guesser I know that it can be changed! Sure I was getting by just fine but my motto for life, to not merely survive but excel was not showing through in my school work. This weeks test was especially daunting. Neuroscience really is no joke. 300 + slides worth of memorization of neuronal pathways to memorize in 1 week. Heres a taste of just one slide/pathway…
All the students get stressed for these Neuro tests, even the ones at the top of the class. As I left class one day and a random encounter with a faculty gave me some hope. He overheard me say, “good luck studying” to a fellow student. He piped in that he never understood that statement. If you study hard and prepare he said, do you really need luck!? I told him that if you are guessing the answers you would need some luck. He said I didn’t need to ever guess. This motivated me with hope to believe Neuro could be defeated, even with a weekend trip to Southern California right before the test.
I exercised faith by first praying for strength and a greater capacity to balance. I got all of the lectures on audio and I listened to them while looking at slides as I drove the 10 hrs roundtrip to LA in the rain by myself. I pulled an all nighter with some sugar and energy drink help and I said a prayer of faith right before the exam that I would be able to perform. I walked out of the test like all others…expecting an average grade because the test was tricky. To my elation I checked my grades today and I got a 95% !!!
It was a big deal not because I got an A…and trust me I’m not trying to brag; It was a big deal because it is proof that the formula of faith WORKS!!! I had called upon the powers of heaven to help me with something small but in my world actually very grandiose, and they came!!! I exercised faith and I asked for power. It is a righteous desire to want to be successful in school. A miracle had happened, an “A” in Neuro Anatomy.
Steady faith is the most beneficial (with a Golf Analogy).
I am excited for what my future holds. Anyone can exercise faith once or twice and see a couple of miracles. But I believe the real secret to life lies in the steady, consistent application of faith as a principle of power. As we do this we will get better and better at the process and we can expand. For example my golf game is something I want to apply this principle to. It does not come naturally and it’s quite laughable. My friends always invite me because it helps them feel better about themselves. I kept a feather of a duck I hit near the women’s tees one time with my driver, and another time my Dad’s expensive Big Bertha club head broke off and went flying farther than the ball. But here I am in the golf mecca of the world. I want to get good at golf. Righteous desire? of course! Possible? ehhhhh… well after what we have talked about, of course! Through steady and consistent faith by playing the courses and going to the driving range to practice I know its possible. I have already been going more lately and I fixed my grip and I have shed the slice (well at least momentarily right!). But the thing is that my game will only improve as I continue to work at it.
I believe our spiritual games are the exact same way. If we are not inclined spiritually just like I am bad at golf we can start somewhere. Most often just with a desire. It will be uncomfortable at first but if we simply stay on the path and put forth effort we will increase our spirituality. It does not happen all at once. Even Jesus grew grace by grace and did not receive a fullness at first (D&C 93:13) Maybe we are unworthy for example because of addiction. If we continue to try no matter how many repeated attempts necessary gradually we will get better. If we are always turning from evil each time we will press forward having learned something from our last failure. Eventually we will start to fail less and less until we are failing no longer.
Our golf game, if we keep at it, can go from atrocious to bad, to not so bad, to decent, to good to great to excellent. We will be shooting consistent par before we know it. Our handicap will get lower and lower the more we play. Birdies, eagles, hole in ones…then we will be pro! (Ok maybe this is wishful thinking for my golf game but isn’t anything possible). Golf is a sport you can play your whole life.
Spiritually speaking shooting par may be temple worthiness. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t there today, continue to press on and work at it and eventually it will happen if you stay on the right path. That same path like Elder Oaks said is the path that leads to eternal life or God’s life. I wonder if in heaven they all shoot hole in ones!? lol.
I know that by choosing to exercise faith we are choosing to let the Lord into our life to perform miracles. We are choosing to exercise our agency for good and we are not allowing the world or Satan to control our actions. After all, aren’t we much better off with the Lord’s help anyway?
Matthew 6:33… “But seek ye first the kingdom of God (seeking implies FAITH, asking for help and having righteous desires) and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (POWER to accomplish miracles beyond our own because it is ADDED unto us, POWER to change and become LEGENDARY or LIKE CHRIST).”
I know that if we choose faith over giving up, doubt, fear or anything else that we will be blessed for it. Let us all exercise faith to effect change in ourselves and in turn better the world around us. Please comment and share!