The Testaments: One Fold and One Shepherd

onebrick

For months I saw legacy multiple times a week. Then a miracle happened. Shortly before I returned from my mission, the Legacy movie was replaced in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We got to see it in a special showing, and I have to say it made me cry. I only saw it once more before coming home, and not since then. I was so happy to find it on YouTube!

Advertisements

Day 26 – Slow and steady

onebrick

It’s Day 26 of Write 31 Days. It is the first time in years I got this far in the challenge, but this year I find myself with plenty of drafts on topics I want to write about to last me into mid-November.

Yesterday as I was looking for some scriptures to share as part of the spiritual thought at English lesson I had this funny thought to change the name of this blog, and keep on writing on topic. I have never been very good in sticking to a topic in my blogs, but it’s something I might want to think through.

Today will be very busy between work, English, and team building. I am already struggling to find some time for scripture study. With all the emphasis on consistency, I still fail at it. As much as I try, some days I only get a few verses read. There are even days when I read nothing. So a good friend and I decided to read the Book of Mormon together. The first 2 days we managed to get to 1 Nephi 1:3. The Book of Mormon has 6604 verses. At that pace it would take us a little over 12 years to read the Book of Mormon! Luckily we have gotten better at it, and we are moving on to the next chapter.

Back with a real post tomorrow.

The Post That Isn’t

onebrickThere was a special post planned for today. It was a post about special people and events in my life that led me to where I am now in my spiritual life. It was not meant to be long. I cringe once a post goes over 500 words, because no one reads long posts any more, and 500 words are over an A4 page long.

I started to write and the post kept growing. After close to 3 weeks and 3000 words the post was officially longer than my extended essay, and it took longer to write than my bachelor’s thesis. I showed it to the people who had the most significant parts in my story – after all, it was not only my story but theirs, too – and finally decided not to post it. Not now. Maybe later at some point I will be ready to share it with the whole world, but currently, even after being edited down a good 200 words of thoughts and feelings, this is still too personal – too much of the real me.

 

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

onebrick

When I was on my mission one of the verses I really loved in the Book of Mormon was 2 Nephi 25:26.

3e254ab287c6249d273258bc7251c590

This was our lives as missionaries. All we did every day was to talk of Christ, to rejoice in Christ, to preach of Christ. We did it when we talked about the blessings of the Temple. We did it as we shared the pioneers’ stories. We did it when we bore our testimonies of His love, sacrifice, and triumph over death. At the flagpole, in the Tabernacle, at the Christus statue. As my friend Gabi said, it was easy to be good on Temple Square. It was easy, because our whole life was centered around Christ and serving Him.

We often recited this verse, and one day I decided to put it to a test when it came to the Book of Mormon. During my personal study the next two months I marked every time He is mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

img_5082

On Sunday when I opened my missionary scriptures in preparation of reading it together with a good friend, I was, again, surprised at all the red marks in the Book of Mormon, showing all the mentions of Christ. Considering that one of my favorite Bible books, Esther, doesn’t even mention God directly, the straightforward witness of the Book of Mormon prophets seems so simple and uncomplicated. Simple and uncomplicated are good, because that is something even I can understand.

As I said earlier, for me the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon is to invite people to come unto Christ, to bear witness that Christ loves us, and is always ready to receive the faithful and repentant. The Book of Mormon is truly for our time, and the opportunity of learning from it is one of those things that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with in these latter days.

Scripture journaling on a budget

onebrick

The Book of Mormon, in English, is 531 pages long, not counting the Introduction and the testimony of witnesses. I have been planning to move from the million post-its in my BoM to a proper scripture journal. So many of my friends have beautiful wide margin Bibles they use for that, and a wide margin template of the BoM (and the rest of the standard works) is available to be printed as well. In English.

While I used to work at a company that also manufactured printers, and allowed us to print some materials for personal use, 531 pages would not have been reasonable there either. So I started to look at various copy shops, and printing at the cheapest place on the cheapest paper that many pages would have come to around HUF 5000. With a better quality of paper, even printing double sided, it would be close to twice as much. That I found a little bit too much. Not to mention, if I wanted to do it in Hungarian, then I didn’t even have the option to print wide margin scriptures!

So I decided to create my own scripture journal on a budget.

img_5078

I ordered two copies of The Book of Mormon, they were €1.15 each. Then I bought a pack of 120g copy paper for HUF 1890. That will leave me about 16 sheets short, but I use this type of paper for a lot of other things, I will be buying more anyway. Of course the D&C  will need some paper as well. I prefer this thicker, whiter paper than the regular 80 g because I usually use a fountain pen or other liquid ink containing pens. Currently I use a low acid ink, and it writes beautifully on this paper.

Because I’m clumsy I prefer to see where I’m glueing something, so I primarily use these colored glue sticks, but double-sided tape works for people who don’t need to reposition their pages several times.

I am generally against mutilation of books, but this time I had to.

img_5079

The reason why two copies of the BOM are needed, because I need a copy of both sides of the same sheet to be glued onto the A4 paper. The missionary editions in English have thicker paper than the triple combination, and the soft cover BOM normally starts to fall apart by itself anyway, so I went with that. I expected to need a craft knife to get the pages out – and I’ll definitely need that for the Hungarian journal that I expect to be making in about a year’s time – , but with using some gentle force on separating the binding from the sheets, I could remove the pages without having to cut.

Then I glued.

img_5080

As you can see, it is not straight, and the glueing didn’t result in a completely fat and glued page, but as I’m not the artist type who would create a beautiful artwork out of her scripture journal like seen on Pinterest, it works fine for me. If you are better at using glue, you’ll get better results. Maybe I should outsource the glueing to my 8-year-old niece.

Currently the already made pages are in a binder, waiting for me to start study again tonight, but eventually I plan to have them spiral bound. This way I can add more pages where needed to add more thoughts, lessons, relevant talks or articles, even pictures as I go. This way it truly becomes a journal.

Another thing I started to do is to use the same type of paper (see, I use this kind of paper for everything!) to print some General Conference talks. I shrink the talks down to 70%, leaving me space to take notes, write thoughts, doodle, and generally use those pages as scripture journals. It helps a lot when I prepare for 4th Sunday in  Relief Society during the week. A similar journal for Sunday School preparation, printing the passages to be read, is also something I have been planning to use next year.

Every time I read the scriptures I discover something new and exciting. It is time to keep those thoughts at least somewhat organized. Because I do love to read the Scriptures.

 

 

An invitation

Just now I finished reading the Book of Mormon again.

Two of my favorite verses are the two right before the very last one, Moroni 10:32-33.

As John Bytheway once said, “Come unto Christ” is the ultimate invitation. That is the is the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon. That is the message we receive from our Heavenly Father via His prophets during General Conference. Everything comes down to this. Come unto Christ.

Shabbat and the Sabbath

onebrick

The below video is by a Jewish a capella group, the Maccabeats. It is a cover of one of my favorite songs, or really, three of them. It’s not only a wonderful version of The Sound of Silence, but at the end of it, we can hear Lecha Dodi to the tune of Lenard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Lecha Dodi is a song that has many tunes, with many Jewish cantors composing new ones. It’s a song that originates from Sefad, the home of Jewish Mysticism, and it welcomes Shabbat, the queen. Centuries later it is sung in synagogues all over the world, welcoming the holy day of rest. After the lighting of the Shabbat candles and singing Lecha Dodi–for part of it facing the synagogue’s door–Jews rest from their daily lives, setting aside the day to sanctify and enjoy this gift of G-d. A Jewish friend once said that the greatest holiday they have happens every week, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday.

The message is to sanctify and enjoy the Shabbat. We, latter-day saints might not have as strict rules of Sabbath observance as our Jewish friends, but we, too, aim at sanctifying and enjoying the Lord’s day. We gather in our meetinghouses to partake of the Sacrament–the Lord’s supper–, and to worship and learn as a community. We try to avoid working on Sunday–I’m not particularly good at that–or shopping, or the use of secular entertainment and media. We serve in the Church, we visit friends and family, we focus on the Lord on Sundays.

To be honest, I didn’t really miss the getting up early and going to church in the morning aspects of Sundays during my years of not being active. What I missed, though, even if I didn’t consciously realize or admit it to myself, was partaking of the Sacrament. In addition to the quiet reflections during the passing of the bread and water, I get to renew my covenants with the Lord. It’s not just a one sided promise to be good and keep the Lord’s commandments, but it is also a renewal of the promises the Lord has given me.

Sundays might seem boring, but truly they are gift from our Heavenly Father.