December 10, 2010

Zone Conference

Yesterday we had our zone conference up in Helena with all of the other missionaries.  The theme of the conference was having a Christ Centered Christmas and some other topics.  One of the topics we discussed as missionaries was the winter blues and how to overcome them.  It seems that the holiday season is a time for a lot of happiness with some and severe depression with others.  As we discussed it we talked about different ways to overcome these feelings, not only during this time of the year, but year round.  The first solution we talked about was being exactly obedient.  As missionaries, we have a lot of rules that help us to be better in tune with the spirit.  The same applies to everyone that follows the commandments that God has given us.  Elder Mervyn B. Arnold relates the following story about his wife when she was younger and how she learned a valuable lesson about keeping the rules:

“When I was 15 years old, I often felt that there were too many rules and commandments. I wasn’t sure that a normal, fun-loving teenager could enjoy life with so many restrictions. Furthermore, the many hours spent working on my father’s ranch were seriously dipping into my time with my friends. 

“This particular summer, one of my jobs was to ensure that the cows grazing on the mountain pasture did not break through the fence and get into the wheat field. A cow grazing on the growing wheat can bloat, causing suffocation and death. One cow in particular was always trying to stick her head through the fence. One morning, as I was riding my horse along the fence line checking on the cattle, I found that the cow had broken through the fence and gotten into the wheat field. To my dismay, I realized that she had been eating wheat for quite some time because she was already bloated and looked much like a balloon. I thought, ‘You stupid cow! That fence was there to protect you, yet you broke through it and you have eaten so much wheat that your life is in danger.’
“I raced back to the farmhouse to get my dad. However, when we returned, I found her lying dead on the ground. I was saddened by the loss of that cow. We had provided her with a beautiful mountain pasture to graze in and a fence to keep her away from the dangerous wheat, yet she foolishly broke through the fence and caused her own death.
“As I thought about the role of the fence, I realized that it was a protection, just as the commandments and my parents’ rules were a protection. The commandments and rules were for my own good. I realized that obedience to the commandments could save me from physical and spiritual death. That enlightenment was a pivotal point in my life.”
Not only do we have rules for our protection, but they also give us an added measure of the spirit of God.  It seems backwards to say that keeping the rules makes us free, but it is true.  If you really think about it, what happens if you break the rules?  When you're caught you get in trouble and your freedoms are limited.  Keeping the commandments has been such a blessing in my life and I have been given more opportunities for doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  I no longer look at rules and commandments as hindrances, but another way to obtain blessings.  I love all of the commandments and invite you all to do the same.  You'll find that you'll have more happiness, freedom, and peace of mind.   I know this principle is true and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.

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