This journal entry was written by Randall and Nicola at the beginning of their fourth week studying Act in Doctrine, a new book written by Elder David Bednar.
What an interesting week this has been – it seems that for every page I read from Act in Doctrine I received an associated personal event that gave me my own example of the principles presented. I am not suggesting that I was out looking for examples; it’s more that they came to me, almost as though I needed a live example to get the message through. I recall in short a few of them.
After reading the accounts of Elder Bednar’s boys attending school in Arkansas, I have vivid memories of being 1 of only 3 in my high school that was a member of the church and I know the feelings that generated. I thought that I had done well to have “survived” that experience of peer pressure, feeling the eyes of many waiting for the Mormon boys to make a mistake. I have seen that story repeated with my own children, growing up with very few, if any church friends in school and sporting teams. More recently one of my daughters has been working hard to find acceptance within her circle of friends. I see her questioning some of the standards of the church and the challenge that presents, when her group may not share or understand the same standards.
As we spoke quietly together one evening, she asked, “Why do I have to do it on my own?” When I asked what that meant, she added, “Why do we have so many rules? Why are we different? Why can’t we do what the others do? Why can’t we just blend in? Why do we have to be different?”
I had many answers rush through my head; the one I shared with her was how, even at my age, we still face those same questions. It doesn’t go away. I explained that in my work this past week, I was in a room where people were talking about religion and making comments of how they struggle with what they referred to as “minority groups,” particularly singling out Mormons as being a minority. I shared with her my feelings of wanting to just ignore it and blend in, but knew I had no option but to quietly let the group know that I was a Mormon and that their understanding of what we are, what we represent and what we believe may have been misguided.
Sharing that experience gave my daughter and I a common point that I don’t think she expected. We now had more in common than she thought. We agreed that we know our Heavenly Father loves us; we know we can pray and we know prayers are answered – but were not always sure “what to pray for.”
Reading Act in Doctrine provided our answer – the linking of Moses 1:39 with Doctrine and Covenants 11:20 was just what we needed. We are to pray for the might, mind and strength to live the commandments.