Al Fox Carraway – My Thoughts

I know that it has been a while since I have put fingers to keys, but I needed to get some things out in the open.

Tonight, I had the wonderful chance to listen to Al Fox Carraway speak. To be 100% honest with everyone, some of the things she said was an answer to my prayers. But, that isn’t what I am here to write about.

As someone who has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since I was born, I absolutely LOVE listening to converts stories. I love listening to how they found the Church, joined the Church, and have stayed strong in the Church. The fact that they weren’t born in the Church, but had to learn the truth of it for themselves and then make the conscience choice to join… I just LOVE it. We got to hear a part of Al’s conversion story tonight, and it made me think of when I converted to the Gospel.

Okay, okay. I know what you all were thinking. “Symone, you have been a member ALL YOUR LIFE. You couldn’t POSSIBLY convert, it is basically in your molecular system.” While that may be true, I did go through a point in my life where I had to go through the repentance process (or basically right some wrongs). THAT is when my conversion occurred. I was taking the time to read my scriptures, delve deeper into talks from General Conference, reading books about the Atonement, and really striving to have the Holy Ghost with me at all times. I felt the Spirit constantly, and felt cleaner than EVER when my Bishop finally told me I could take the sacrament again. It was amazing.

After Al’s fireside, I could only think, “Do you feel that way now? Do you feel the Spirit as often as you would like? Are there things you can change to make the Spirit more comfortable and welcome if you don’t feel that way?” The way Al talked, the way she seemingly lives, showed me that the Spirit is her constant companion. But the Spirit isn’t mine. I feel glimpses of him here or there. When I teach in Primary, as I study my scriptures, when I pray… but not full time, not constant anymore. So, I am going to work on getting that back.

Changes will be made. I am CHOOSING GOD right now. I am going to strive to have His constant companionship, guidance, and love. At all times. I am being extremely vulnerable in this post, and I hope that you guys can be gentle with me. But, it is time to turn to God.

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Article of Faith #1

“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a belief in the Godhead. We believe three seperate beings make up the Godhead. God the Father, His son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three seperate beings that are one in purpose.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “It is not happenstance that the first article of our faith is ‘We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in theHoly Ghost‘ (Articles of Faith 1:1). The message is clear for all who teach the gospel. There is no point in going on to the other truths we believe if we haven’t fixed in our minds and in the minds of those we teach the preeminent role of the Godhead in our doctrine and in our eternal destiny. We are to know these Divine Beings in every way we can. We are to love Them, draw near to Them, obey Them, and try to be like Them.”

This Article of Faith shows that, as a Mormon, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe in the Holy Ghost. All three. Not only do I believe, but I KNOW there is a God, who created this Earth for me, who has a plan for me, who knows me inside and out and loves me just te same. I KNOW Jesus Christ is God’s son, who came to Earth, died for all who live here, and was resurrected and lived again in order to help US, His brothers and sisters, live again. I KNOW the Holy Ghost is a comforter, a guide, a constant companion, a light in this world of darkness as we live worthily of the gift of His companionship.

I am SO grateful for these three members of the Godhead. For their support, their love, their guidance, and the comfort they give me. I don’t know where I would be without the knowledge I have of them in my life, and the love I have for each individual member.

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Book of Mormon Day 49: Alma 2-3

Chapter 2

1. In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you felt that the Lord strengthened you as you tried to do what is right.

I feel that way a lot in the last few months. I have felt that there were times when I could have fallen into a heap on the ground and not continued moving forward, or I could have just given up. But as I have lived the gospel, and I have continued to try to do those things that are right, He has helped me up. He has helped me keep pushing forward, and looking for a brighter future.

Chapter 3

1. Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: In contrast to the Amlicites, what can you do in your life now to make sure that you do not cut yourself off from God?

Instead of coming out “in open rebellion against God,” I can try to align myself with God. I can change things in my life to become a better disciple of His, and I can try to share and spread the knowledge I have received with those around me, in order to become closer to Him.

2. Write in your scripture study journal about a time when following the Lord has brought you happiness.

Getting married in the temple has brought more joy than anything else. Knowing that I married in the way the Lord has asked us to, and I am sealed to my spouse and my children (present and future) makes me happy beyond compare. I am grateful for this blessing, and this chance to be with my family for eternity.

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Book of Mormon Day 48: Alma 1

Chapter 1

1. In your scripture study journal, write how the Nephite priests acted. How were the actions of the Nephite priests different from the actions of those who practiced priestcraft?

The Nephite priests didn’t look at themselves as better than those they taught. They were equal. The Nephite priests did work, and they gave of their substance to those who were poor, needy, sick, or afflicted. They also didn’t wear expensive clothing. These actions were different because those who practiced priestcraft thought highly of themselves, and let others know. They thought they were above others, and didn’t have to work. They also wore expensive clothing. They didn’t see themselves as equals to those who they taught, but the Nephite priests did.

2. In your scripture study journal, explain how understanding the above gospel principle (When we live the gospel, we can have peace in our lives, even if we are persecuted.) can help you when facing persecution or pressure to disobey the commandments. Then answer one of the following questions:

  • a. When have you kept the commandments despite persecution or pressure not to do so, and what blessings did you receive?
  • b. How will you respond to your adversaries?

A- I kept the commandments even when friends or relatives were talking down about it, because I wanted to. I knew the good that comes from living the gospel, and I knew that if I stayed true to my beliefs, I would be blessed. And I was. I received protection, I received an abundance of love and faith.

B- I will be loving and kind, and I will try to not let whatever is said or done to me make me bitter. I will strive to show more compassion, and still stay true to my beliefs.

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Book of Mormon Day 47: Mosiah 28-29

Chapter 28

“The intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion.” – Elder Dallin H. Oaks

1. Answer one of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. How has your desire to share the gospel increased as you have strengthened your testimony?
  • b. What experiences in your life have led you to want to share the gospel with others?
  • c. If you do not feel that you have a strong desire to share the gospel at this time, what can you do to strengthen that desire? (Read Alma 17:2–3.)

C- I can pray more, fast, and learn more about the gospel. I do have a desire to share the gospel, I am just concerned with what others may think. That is what I have to change. I have to turn towards the Lord, and share His goodness without worry.

2. Write in your scripture study journal what King Mosiah’s decision teaches you about Alma’s change of heart. (To answer this question, you may need to review Alma’s previous actions, recorded in Mosiah 27.) Also, explain how Mosiah’s trust in Alma might give hope to those who repent.

It shows that Alma truly did change, and this his life was different than it had been before. He truly did come back into the fold, and was willing to live life within the church. This gives hope to those who repent because it shows that you can change, and you can come back, and you can be trusted again.

Chapter 29

1. Write in your scripture study journal why you believe it is important for every citizen of a country to “bear his part” in serving his or her country (Mosiah 29:34).

I think this is important because it is a good thing to show loyalty and respect to your country. It is also something all should do because, especially here in the United States, we should have a say in the affairs of our government. As we serve our country, we are able to see whether our say is being considered or not, and we should be able to make changes based on that.

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Book of Mormon Day 46: Mosiah 27

Chapter 27

1. In your scripture study journal, answer one or both of the following questions:

  • a. When have you felt that your prayers made a difference in someone’s life?
  • b. How can believing that the Lord responds to our faithful prayers in behalf of others affect how you pray?

A- Well, I used to pray for friends in high school all the time. Some of them haven’t found their way, or are living life their own way (which is fine for them), but there were a few who did, and are members of the church. It is amazing to me that some of them have joined the church, but I am happy they did.

B- It affects how I pray because I think I will start to pray more for those who aren’t members, who used to be. I may also pray not necessarily that they will come back, but that they may find a way to soften their hearts and be okay with me and my family being members of this church.

2. In your scripture study journal, write down one phrase that you wrote in the After column that you hope will describe you throughout your life. Explain why.

So, in the book, we were asked to discuss Alma’s spirituality before seeing the angel, and then afterwards. The one phrase that I hope will describe me is “I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.” I say this because I felt like I was in darkness throughout a good chunk of my life, but lately I have found myself in the light. I can see God’s hand in my life, and I never want that to go away.

3. Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. How might Mosiah 27 help people who are discouraged and think they cannot repent and come to the Lord?
  • b. How might Mosiah 27 help people who believe that someone else will never repent and come to the Lord?

A- This chapter helps people who are discouraged and think they can’t repent see that they, in fact, CAN! Alma the Younger was talked about in the first part of the chapter as someone who was wicked, and was a hindrance to the people of the church, and led many away. But even HE could repent and become clean again. If someone such as he could do that, why can’t you? Why can’t you come back and be cleaned and changed?

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Book of Mormon Day 45: Mosiah 24-26

Chapter 24

“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Proverbs 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.” – Elder Richard G. Scott

1. In your scripture study journal, explain what you think it means to submit patiently to the will of the Lord during a time of trial and how doing so can prepare you to receive the strength and blessings He will provide to help you through that difficult time.

I think that submitting patiently to the will of the Lord is allowing His will to take over our own. That means being patient and allowing Him to help us in His own time, even when we want to get through things quickly. It is looking for positives within the negatives you may be facing. When we do so, the Lord sees fit to give us strength and blessings to help us get through the hard times we may be facing.

Chapter 25

1. For each of the four verses in Mosiah 25:8–11, record in your scripture study journal the people’s response when they heard the account of their brethren. For example, in Mosiah 25:8, when they saw those who were delivered from Lamanite bondage, the people “were filled with exceedingly great joy.”

2. Write short answers to each of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. In what ways did the Nephite Church resemble the Church today?
  • b. Why do you think it is important that the leaders were called by Alma, who had authority from God?
  • c. Why is it important for leaders to teach the same truths to all members of the Church throughout the world?

A- There were many bodies of people, they all had teachers and priests who taught the lessons, and all that was taught was the same in every body.

B- It is important because Alma used the spirit and was able to choose those whom God would have appointed to teach His people.

C- This is important because it shows that this church is the same everywhere. Also, if we teach the same things, there won’t be any problems or unauthorized teachings within the church. The Gospel is one truth, and since this church is founded on it, that is why the Gospel is the one thing that is taught.

3. Write answers to the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. How do the phrases in Mosiah 25:23–24 that describe Nephite members of the Church also apply to members of the Church today?
  • b. How can remembering that you have taken upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ make a difference in your thoughts and the daily choices you make?

A- The members of the Church today also take upon them the name of Christ, and are called people of God. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

B- If we remember that we are members of Christ’s church, then we can try to keep our thoughts clean and make choices that would make Christ happy.

4. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. In what ways does your participation in the Church of Jesus Christ help you to feel the Spirit?
  • b. What can you do to increase your faithfulness and righteous actions so that you can feel even closer to the Spirit?

A- It helps me feel the Spirit because I learn the things I need to do to keep myself worthy of the Spirit, and I learn how to feel it.

B- I can try to choose to be a better person. I can try to remember Christ, and think of whether I would do certain things, and think if Christ would approve of them or not.

Chapter 26

“Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony. … Feasting on the word of God, heartfelt prayer, and obedience to the Lord’s commandments must be applied evenly and continually for your testimony to grow and prosper.” – President Henry B. Eyring

 1. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

  • a. In your experience, why is it important to have a believing attitude as you pray, read the scriptures, and strive to obey the commandments?
  • b. Describe an experience when faithful prayer, scripture reading, or obedience to the commandments has strengthened your testimony.

A- If you don’t have a believing attitude, you won’t get much out of your scripture study, and your prayers and your efforts to follow the commandments will be in vain. If you don’t have an attitude of belief, then you won’t see the point in doing the things the Lord has asked us to do, and you will start to lose your testimony.

B- Well, scripture reading has strengthened my testimony right now. I have been reading for 47 days straight (got a little behind in my blog posts), and I have seen things change. Now, it hasn’t been an over night change, but I have noticed that I am becoming stronger in my testimony, and am able to get through hard things with my head held higher than before.

2Write in your scripture study journal why it is important for us to know that priesthood leaders seek and receive the Lord’s guidance when helping those who have sinned.

It is important to know that priesthood leaders seek and receive the Lord’s help because it shows that the things they choose, or the route that they present to those who have committed serious sins to return to good standing, comes not from them but from God. God knows the best route for us to take to repent and become clean again, and bishops, when they go to the Lord for help, will be shown what to do. Some may find the route difficult, but what they should remember is that the bishop doesn’t choose it out of thin air. Bishops ask the Lord for help, so it comes from Him (most of the time).

3. Read Mosiah 26:29–30. Then respond to one or both of the following:

  • a. Explain why you think the following principle is essential for everyone to understand, including anyone who may have committed serious sin: The Lord will forgive those who repent in the sincerity of their hearts.
  • b. Write your testimony of the following principle: The Lord will forgive those who repent in the sincerity of their hearts.

B- I know this principle to be true wholeheartedly. As I was a teenager, I didn’t really repent with sincerity. I tried to become better, but failed basically every time. I then gave up repenting, because I didn’t see the good that could come from it, especially when nothing was changing. Then, as I got older, I realized that I needed to repent, and not fall into the same traps I had been throughout the last years of my teenage life. I had sincerity, I tried my hardest to be better, and I succeeded. Because of that, I know that the Lord forgave me of the sins I committed. When I was sincere, I was forgiven. That is what made the difference.

4. To help you analyze what you read in these verses, answer two or more of the following assignments in your scripture study journal:

  • a. How would you summarize the Savior’s words in Mosiah 26:23? Why do you think it is important for us to realize that the Savior Himself paid for our sins?
  • b. What phrases in Mosiah 26:21–31 show the Savior’s confidence and trust in Alma as a priesthood leader? How could having the help of a priesthood leader assist those who struggle with difficult sins or temptations?
  • c. What do you think it means to repent “in the sincerity of [one’s] heart”? (Mosiah 26:29).
  • d. Why do you think we must forgive others to receive the Lord’s forgiveness? (see Mosiah 26:31).

A- I would summarize those words by saying that it is Christ that took upon himself all the sins of the world, it is He who created us, and it is He who, if we believe in Him, will give us a place in heaven. It is important to realize that the Savior paid for our sins because that is the only way we can be saved, through Him. He is the one who died for us, who suffered for us, and who chose to do that for our sake. There is no other way that we will be saved, and there is no other person who has done that for us.

D- I think we need to forgive others because all people make mistakes, and if we hold on to grudges, or remember the mistakes others have made against us, we aren’t allowing the Lord’s spirit to take those burdens away from us. If we hold on to the pain, we aren’t allowing the Lord’s forgiveness to work in ourselves and in those who have already repented. We need to be willing to let the Lord’s presence be with us and help us, and that happens when we choose to forgive others.

5. To help you analyze these principles, read the following case studies. Select one case study and write in your scripture study journal how the verses and principles you have studied today may help people in the situation described:

  • a. A young woman has committed a serious sin, but she is afraid to speak with her bishop.
  • b. A young man has a desire to repent, but he does not know how.
  • c. A young woman repeats a sin she has previously committed, and she worries that the Lord will no longer forgive her.
  • d. A young man decides to repent, but he refuses to forgive someone who has offended him.

D- This young man needs to understand that if he doesn’t forgive someone, the Lord cannot forgive him. The Lord will have no place in our hearts if we can’t forgive others, and so repenting won’t be as successful. If we want to truly repent, and receive the Lord’s forgiveness, we must first share that forgiveness with those who have hurt or offended us.

6. Pick one of the principles identified in this lesson and ponder how you could apply it to your own efforts to repent. Write in your scripture study journal how you will apply this principle.

I will try to be better at forgiving others, especially those who hurt me immensely.

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