Tuesday, June 9


This morning I was reading Alma Chapter 36.  Alma the Younger is relating his conversion experience to his son Helaman. In verse 12 he says

A harrow, according to various dictionaries, is a farming instrument with spike like teeth used in fields..  You drag it over the ground and it digs and shreds, breaks down clods of dirt and basically levels the land.
To harrow, used as a verb is to  disturb keenly or painfully.
So, to be harrowed, is to be painfully broken, shredded and leveled.
Discouragement is such a phenomenal tool of the adversary.  He knows my weakness lies in bogging myself down, or harrowing myself in my mistakes and failures.  I allow him to shred me with self doubt and crush me with thoughts that I shouldn't even bother trying to work my way out of the mess I've gotten myself into this time.  "You'll probably just do it again anyway." or "Do you think he believes you when you say you are sorry?"

 There's a book by Brad Wilcox called The Continuous Atonement. while the hardcover is nice to have on hand to take notes in, I recommend the audio version for those have a tendency to read a chapter and forget to pick it up again.  This book goes into using the Atonement as a help-meet with the daily struggles of overcoming transgression, instead of the "do everything you can do alone before asking for help" mentality.  (and that's just a small portion of the book!)

 Three days and three nights passed while [he] was harrowed up by the memory of [his] many sins.  Procrastinating those prayers for help. Waiting until you go 1 day without making that one particular misstep.  These are what we do.  We harrow ourselves up.  We (and I mean "I") have a terrible habit of believing I just don't deserve as much love because of my sins.  It's a terrible practice I am working on overcoming.
There are people in my life I will love no matter what they say or do to me.  Why is it so hard for my tiny brain to grasp that a perfect Heavenly Father can and does love me perfectly, without condition?  There is no rolling of the eyes when he hears me call out for him.  He doesn't ignore my calls, or cough sarcastically under his breath when I promise to "never do that again".  
Joseph Smith, at the young age of 14, at a time when the thought of angelic visitation was unheard of- reads a passage of scripture that changes all that we are.  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...."
He doesn't get an easy answer...

I've read this so many times in my life.  And I have an understanding of modern revelation!  I've buckled under much less.  I dare say, this boy had no idea what to expect as an answer.  Certainly not the answer he received.  And subsequent visions and visitations throughout the rest of his life.
the Hymn  Joseph Smith's First Prayer:

Without the Restored Priesthood, without all the knowledge we have today, this boy was undaunted under such darkness.  He found his faith from one line of scripture.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to ALL men liberally... and it shall be given unto you."
Back to Alma's experience.  He described his despair:

He didn't say he forgot his sins. He said he wasn't held back by the memory of his sins anymore.  He was able to partake of the joy's of the Atonement and overcome the weight of his guilt and believe that he was worth saving after all.

I know one day I can have this joy for myself.  I know I will have to work at it, change something inside myself so that my weaknesses no longer hold me back from peacefully knowing I am not in this struggle alone.  But that is the point.  I won't have to work at it alone. 
2 Nephi 4:19

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