31 May 2021

Thy will be done on Earth - as it is in heaven

Every time that we had assembly at school, I think it was once each week, we would all recite together -

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

I have often reflected on that, and I frequently review the words of the prayer that Jesus of Nazareth taught to His disciples, saying to them 'After this manner therefore pray ye:'

I frequently go through that prayer, phrase by phrase, as I reflect on its relevance and meaning in my life, and I sometimes use that as the skeleton for my prayer, hallowing His name by reflecting on all of the things for which I am thankful. I then ask for those things that I need, like daily bread, forgiveness, compassion, deliverance from evil, harm, danger, ill health, and unpleasant things that are so prevalent about me. I then acknowledge His kingdom, power and glory, and His invitation for me to be part of that work, kingdom, power and glory. I reflect on the Saviour addressing His father, and reminding us that His Father is our Father, making us of the household of God, heirs, joint heirs with Christ, inviting us to be one with Him as He is one with His Father.

Regarding that phrase 'Thy will be done on Earth as it is is Heaven', I often ask that I can be part of Him bringing about His will, being and doing things in harmony with His will. The last thing that I want is to be acting in opposition to His will. I may not be the ideal instrument in the hands of the creator, the artist, the master, but I hope that I can help Him to produce some things of worth and beauty.

'Thy will be done on Earth' - Is there any part of Earth that is exempted? Any country, continent or island? Is there any group of people exempted? Is there any single person that is exempted? I think that this is the most all-inclusive concept.

I marvel at the thought of how absolutely wonderful this world would be if every single person simply lived the Ten Commandments written by the Lord on stone and given to Moses. How much more glorious would the world be if everyone followed the higher law shared in the Sermon on the Mount in the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Matthew in the New Testament, during which He gave this Lord's Prayer as we now call it?

I hope that each and every one of us will pray with real intent that the will of God will be done on Earth as it is in heaven, and then go forth and live according to His will so that His will can be done, at least in our little parts of Earth, as it is in Heaven.

Promise for someone desiring to resign their membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I frequently hear from people who no longer wish to have their names on the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often incorrectly referred to as the 'Mormon Church'. This is often because they have chosen to associate themselves with some other Christian church. They can resign their membership by writing and signing a request to this effect to their bishop. 

I invite anyone considering resigning their membership, and any reader - you - to consider two challenges. I promise you a wonderful experience whether or not you remain a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There is a period of 30 days that is allowed for reconsidering your request to resign your membership. I promise that, if it is important to you to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, then you will be a better disciple of Jesus Christ if you will accept my challenge during these 30 days, whether you choose to remain a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - or not.

Resigning your membership means that you will be without all of your ordinances of baptism, priesthood, and temple, as they will all be revoked and all membership privileges will be removed. When you realise that you wish to have these restored, it will probably not be a very easy way back to have these blessings restored - although it is absolutely possible. If it is not important to you, well, then nothing really matters anyway. 

During the next 30 days that you have to reconsider your resignation from the Church, I invite you to do two things. Whatever you do that I challenge you will result in your being a better disciple of Jesus Christ if that is truly the desire of your heart. It will draw you closer to the Messiah.

My first challenge is that, as you want to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, then during this period, read about 7 pages each day from the books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and prayerfully seek to hear and follow Jesus Christ. Remember how merciful He has been unto the children of men, even from the days of Adam until now, and ponder it in your heart, and pray to know what He would have you do. Less than about 7 pages per day will not get you to finish the four Gospels in 30 days, but it will bless your life as His disciple. Completing the whole exercise will be a life changing experience for you. 

My second challenge is that you then prayerfully review each of the 13 Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and write down what you believe as your own 13 articles of faith. Prayerfully ask yourself if you really cannot agree with the 13 Articles of the church. If not, well then, resigning your membership will be advisable. But please do not take these challenges lightly. I repeat that I promise you a wonderful experience whether or not you remain a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if you will take these two challenges to heart.

In all of this, I invite you to reflect on why it was that you chose to commit to the covenants that you made when you were interviewed before your baptism. You would have been asked:

  • If you believed that God is our Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Saviour and Redeemer of the world?
  • If you believed that the Church has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that the then current Church President is a prophet of God and what this meant to you?
  • You would have been asked about your understanding of repentance and if you felt that you had repented of your past sins?
  • You would have been asked if you understood the standards of the Church and if you were willing to obey them, including obeying the law of chastity, the law of tithing, the Word of Wisdom, keeping the Sabbath day holy, including partaking of the sacrament weekly and rendering service to others?
  • You would have been asked if you were willing to take upon you the name of Christ and keep His commandments throughout your life and if you were ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?

You would have made those commitments yourself - you were not an infant whose parents were making the choice for you. Think back and remember what you felt and why you made those commitments and why you have forgotten those promises and are not keeping them anymore. Ask the Lord if you need to make any changes in your life. I promise that He will answer your prayers if you ask - this was what reassured Joseph Smith that he could believe the promise to ask of God if he lacked wisdom. We all lack wisdom and need to ask of God. I trust that you will do so. I promise that He will give liberally and not upbraid if you ask in faith, nothing wavering.

14 May 2021

I was interested to read in my journal from 1979

I was interested to read in my journal from 18 November 1979 - and I found the following.

'Just recently Gerald Wiffen challenged us in his Sunday School class to pray to find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Well, on several occasions I have done this in the last few years, but never feel a burning in my bosom. This time, though, last week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, I began the day on my knees praying aloud and pleading for a witness.
'What concerns me is that I do not want to be looking for a sign, and am not sure if this is not what I am indeed seeking. Well, after over an hour of thus pleading and feeling empty, for I have heard it said that once, having received a witness about something, we receive no more witness - we must live on that experience. So, I begged for a re-witness, re-confirmation, but felt nothing.
'After this long time of pleading, I said that if I received no answer, did I quit living the Gospel? and I simply could not do this. I explained that I know of no better way, this gospel makes sense to me, and I just cannot deny that I believe it to be true. I explained this, and then I began to feel the warmth in me. Then the re-assurance came. So, I have committed to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and if this is wrong, which I cannot conceive it to be, I must ask for God to intercede in my life as He did for Saul of Tarsus and for Alma the Younger, because to the best of my ability, and with my most noble and righteous intent, I will work to build this, what I believe to be the kingdom of God on Earth. I have committed to promote this work.
'If the gospel is not true, I can only accept it to mean that, either God does not live, or else He does not have a church on the Earth. I cannot accept either of these options, because I believe that I have had a spiritual witness, and while I do not have a perfect knowledge, but only a faith, I can only trust that this faith is well founded.'
I had visited Gerald and Marie a few times in Panorama Ward in Cape Town. I had not remembered Gerald teaching me, but there you are! I hope that his testimony burns at least as strongly as mine did back in 1979 when I wrote thi, and evidently his testimony burned strongly then.

06 May 2021

My Home, My Environment and Myself

I wrote this in 1971. I cannot recall why I wrote this. It is on letter paper and not A4 sheets as used at school. I wonder if it might have been written for an application to go abroad with a student exchange programme, potentially to Germany or France.

I live in a happy and religious home where love abounds a great deal of the time, and yet I, and my family are human, we have the family scraps and arguments, but we trying to prevent these all of the time. We have had serious scraps, but being of partly Irish blood we are hardheaded quick-tempered, but, after considering the position, we generally come out improved after our quarrels.

Our home is humble, but it is a home. It holds many worldly conveniences and luxuries, but there are always areas where we are lacking finance or assets so that we are reminded not to be extravagant.

We have no servant as such, a garden boy comes in and helps out, but we are used to working around the home to keep it tidy and make it look like a lived-in Home and yet to be pleasing to the eyes of guests.

In the home are things which provide opportunities to improve our talents, my sister plays the piano well and I attempt to do this with little success. I can play well enough to enjoy it and yet badly enough to be annoyed that I did not persist in lessons.

A thing which has always been about my home and family is the attitude towards other people, they always refer to us as snobs or proud or some such title, but when they come to visit us and join in the fun which we have at home or in the activities that we have as families, they see that we are different, certainly, but we are likeable people with our own problems and that we are yet happy and hospitable. We have many true friends who love to visit us, and not only out of courtesy. Our high standards of morality restrict us from doing certain things, but our human qualities allow us to have joy and happiness, and fun in life.

I have always had at my disposal good literature and films and I love to dance and sing and to choose well the films that I see. My parents do not dictate to me which films I should or should not see, but if I decide on anything outrageous or out of my reason, I am corrected and yet not restricted, I still make up my own mind and usually, mostly choose the right.

I have had the opportunity to mix with many people, people of an entirely different background to my own, and this I have done especially during two periods totalling three weeks when I went around proselyting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as I went and stayed, in both cases with an American companion, studying with him, praying and living with him, I grew to love him. I met also many people, people who slammed doors in our faces, people who cursed and swore at us, people who listened to us either sincerely or insincerely, I saw that it was possible, and I did love them all in spite of what they might have done to us. I found that I could mix well with these people, understand them and love them.

I have always led a religious life and yet have attended and almost non-religious school, have associated with people who swear and curse and profane and who constantly think evil thoughts, and my influence has worn off on them, and yet I have managed to prevent myself from using the evil words and thoughts much to the joy of my parents

I am grateful for the discipline and strict environment which I enjoy and I like to know that I am “in the world, but not of it”.

I have always cherished my high standards and the high standards in my acquaintances. I loved the three weeks of missionary work when high standards were almost the order of the day. Yet I can humbly say ‘thank you’ to every-one who has helped me to keep my standards.

I have a heavy responsibility on my shoulders, a good family-name and personal name, although I am highly embarrassed when publicly congratulated on my achievements, I know that I can be thankful for the encouragement given by these compliments for it is heartbreaking and discouraging to see when I fall just a fraction of the way down my eternal ladder of progression. I know also that it is with eyes such as of hawks or eagles that people watch me, hoping that I will fall or slip, but I fight the lazy self of me and constantly keep my head above the turbulent and troubled water of my environment. I have a good reputation for being honest, honorable and of honouring other people's feelings, chastity and attitudes and I pray that I can live up to this reputation.

I have learned both the values and vices of seriousness and a good sense of humour at work and at play and I can happily say that I have both of these qualities. I can be serious when this is necessary and yet I can enjoy jokes and joke along with my pals and yet keep a serious watch on my good behaviour.

I am happy to say that I have been good at my studies at school and have always had an above-average performance. I have a good control of the English language and I have a good vocabulary enabling me to use words to replace any swear words that might feel to creep in, so that I can do this controlling my speech efficiently.

I have been taught to live a Word of Wisdom which encourages me to refrain from the use of tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor and also uses of certain foods to help to keep good health. This law is lived by most Latter-day Saints, all good Saints the world over. The ‘Mormons’ or Latter-day Saints are noted for good health and for refraining from these things.

I am a priest in the church. Strange as this may seem for a young man of seventeen years of age, but at twelve I was found worthy enough as my brothers and many of my friends, to be ordained Deacons. This office has been an aid to me in keeping my standard which I have set for myself. I have to act in such and such a way that would be becoming to of a priest and I seldom for short though I must admit, I am not perfect in this aspect as in few others.

I enjoy many talents which I try to improve, but one thing, a good principle that I lack is automotivation and this prevents me from being a still better student and person. I am naturally a lazy person in those things which are not particularly interesting for me.

I have set many goals in life, the one being to study further as a doctor and then to specialise in the field of bone study and manipulation. I want to qualify in this because I feel that I should be of help to people in need and I know that I can, if I push myself, be successful in this field.

I enjoy fairly good health although in the past, two years ago I was seriously taken by a weak chest and constantly fell ill with colds or chest trouble, but this year I have not missed a single day of school and last year a cold made me miss two days, otherwise I feel that I have overcome this. Other than this I have a sound body, strong and resistant to many ills. I have had a few of the serious illnesses namely: measles, chicken pox, and so forth.

I have said a lot about my virtues but little of my shortcomings, so let me pull myself off the shelf for a while to examine myself.

I am constantly moaned at because I moan, but this I do under serious circumstances, but ask my friends and I am sure they will agree that I am reasonable company. I do not impose too much on them at all.

As I have said, I am lazy, or rather, I budget my time rather unwisely. I know that I must really improve myself here and this is a serious problem causing much contention in the home.

I am a procrastinator, when there is work to be done, I am rather slothful in doing it. Yet sometimes I can do better than most people and getting down to a job of work.

I have many faults as do all people, I cannot name them all because to call them to mind would be difficult because they almost seem good as do things of the sort which are small shortcomings.

I think that this is a fairly good description of my life and I think maybe it could have been better, I am not very eloquent, but I trust that it shall suffice.

Leslie W. Powrie, 1971

The photograph, I fear, is 2 years old but is the same as the one on my ID card. I have no more recent portrait photograph. I now wear spectacles.