As many of you know i am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and in our church members of the congregation are asked to speak each Sunday on different given topics. A little while ago i was asked to prepare a talk on Adversity and how to overcome it. If you choose to read it (it is quite long- it was supposed to be between 10-15 minutes) i hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions feel free to ask me, or visit mormon.org
** disclaimer** - for the purpose of the talk i assumed that pattern-making is the only way to make clothing, if you are one of my friends from design school and reading this you might notice that i didnt mention you can drape and make clothing without a pattern- i of course know this, but for the purpose of the object lesson i ignored that method. :)
Since many people relate their talks about gospel subjects to what they do every day, I'm going to talk to you today about constructing a dress.
Once I decide what I want to make I go to my very trusted pattern-making book, it's somewhat like a text-book, in that it tells me from start to finish how to make the pattern for my dress. The first step to is to start with a very large sheet of blank paper. Next, using my different pattern making tools- an L square, and many other rulers, I look to the book to tell me exactly where to start plotting points and drawing lines. I am essentially creating a draft that I will then make into a flat pattern. Once that pattern is finished I will lay it on top of fabric, cut the fabric around it, pin fabric pieces together and then sew the dress together.
And although that may seem like a simple sounding process well..buckle up because trust me it's not and today your going to learn a lot more than you wanted to about making clothes, I apologize in advance.
when I first started making patterns as a sophomore in college I thought that it was the hardest thing I had ever done. There is something very difficult about looking at a blank sheet of paper and plotting the points and drawing the lines with your rulers that seems as though this sheet of paper in no ways resembles the dress that is the final product.
The key is to completely trust the pattern-making book, trust that the book is labeled correctly with the design you want to make attached to the correct instructions and measurements. And in the beginning I was blindly making patterns based on what the book was telling me to do. The reason it felt so blind was because I hadn't developed the ability to look at a pattern and understand what it will look like three dimensionally. After a few years of practice I can now see what the final dress will look like as I make the pattern, however there are still moments when I make something completely new that take a step back and look and second guess if the book is telling me correctly. Is that really right?? But I ultimately have to put trust in this expert book and know that I will get the desired three dimensional dress.
Often our trials in life are like the stage in clothing construction when you are making the flat pattern. You can't see exactly how things are going to turn out. Often times when I have been faced with trials in my life it seems impossible to see past what is happening now. we can't see through the small space of where we are currently standing.
However just like making the pattern we have guide. That guide is our Savior Jesus Christ and his Gospel. My Question to us all is- Do we believe Christ? Do we put our faith in him like I put my faith in my pattern-making book. Do we believe that we can get through the trial? Do we believe that he can guide us, help us, give us the exact measurements to create the pattern and then the final dress?
In Matt 11:28-30 Christ says to us all “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In Stephen Robinson's book Believing Christ he talk about the difference between believing IN Christ and Believing Christ.
“Faith is the first principle of the gospel, but this does not mean just believing the historical claims of the gospel. Do you believe that the church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the gospel has been restored in the latter days? Good but that's not enough. The first article of faith specifies that we must have faith in the Lords Jesus Christ. We often think that having faith in Christ means believing in his identity as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. But believing in Jesus' identity as the Christ is only the first half of it. The other half is believing in his ability, in his power to cleanse and to save.” he goes on to say
“ If we believe only in Christ without believing Christ, then we are like people sitting in cold, dark houses, surrounded by unused lamps and heaters, people who believe in electricity but who never throw the switch to turn on the power. People like this often pretend to themselves and to others that merely believing in electricity makes them warm and gives them light, but they still shiver in the dark unless they turn on the power. Though the appliances may all work and the wiring may be in good order, until we accept the power itself, beyond merely believing in the theory of power, we cannot enjoy the warmth and the light. This is why genuine faith in Christ- active acceptance of his power and not just passive belief in his identity is and must be the very first principle of the gospel. No matter how much of the gospel one learns or even believes as a theory, until we accept the reality of our own salvation, we have not yet turned on the power.”
How do we flip the switch to turn the power on? How do we open up the pattern-making book to start reading the instructions? How to we gain access to the power that Christ offers us to give us peace and make our burdens light? How do we take his yoke upon us?
The power of the Atonement is great and no matter what your struggle He can heal you. In a November 2006 talk by Dallin H. Oaks he relays the following letter he received from a member who had overcome the addiction to pornography he writes:
“There are several lessons I’ve gleaned from my experience coming out of the darkness of a sin that so thoroughly dominates the lives of the people it ensnares: (1) This is a major problem that is unbelievably difficult to overcome. … (2) The most important source of support and strength in the repentance process is the Savior. … (3) Intense, daily scripture study, regular temple worship, and serious, contemplative participation in the ordinance of the sacrament are all indispensable parts of a true repentance process. This, I assume, is because all of these activities serve to deepen and strengthen one’s relationship with the Savior, one’s understanding of His atoning sacrifice, and one’s faith in His healing power” (letter dated Oct. 24, 2005).
the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the healing it offers do much more than provide the opportunity for repentance from sins. The Atonement also gives us the strength to endure “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind,” because our Savior also took upon Him “the pains and the sicknesses of his people” (Alma 7:11). If your faith and prayers and the power of the priesthood do not heal you from an affliction, the power of the Atonement will surely give you the strength to bear the burden.
Mosiah 24:14 says
“ And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”
In this case the people who followed Alma did not have their burdens removed, but the Lord strengthened them so that it says in Verse 15 “they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”
The healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ—whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them like the Apostle Paul—is available for every affliction in mortality.
So if we Believe that he can he really heal us and help us, What do we need to do to receive that needed help? In the same chapter in Mosiah, if we back up a bit to verse 10 we read: “And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.”
We must cry mightily to God. We must ask for the help that we need and then believe, have faith, that we will receive his promised blessings of making our burdens light.
When I am making a pattern sometimes I mess up. For instance I may not be paying attention and reading each instruction so I skip a step that is critical for the shape of the dress. I miss putting in a dart in or adding ease. And then when I cut the dress and put it on the form it's not right.
Sometimes I mess up by not using the correct tools- if I have misplaced my curved ruler that I use to draw the armhole and try to rely on my own free-hand drafting skills the armhole can come out looking very wobbly and would end up being messy in the pattern and then on the dress.
When we keep the commandments we are following Christ, striving to be like him and Coming unto him, when we break commandments we make the pattern-making process much more difficult- the trial that we are already going through becomes even harder.
Christ has also given us tools to help us get through this life and the trials that find us; and when we utilize important parts of the gospel such as scripture study, church attendance, and prayer we can find it easier to continue to preserve. Although Christ will make our burdens light we must work hard as well to stay close to Him.
A quote to remember says “Pray as if everything depended on the Lord and Work as if everything depended on you”
In my favorite movie the main character faces a continuous struggle. Elle Woods puts all her efforts into getting into Law School and succeeds- she thinks that her struggles are behind her and then once she is there she is faced with a resounding voice telling her “Your just not smart enough” instead of shrinking back defeated she stands up with all her energy and proves everyone wrong. I often think of Elle when I am facing trials in my life. There are so many times that we conquer a great task only to be met with Satan telling us- “You're still not good enough”. Do we shrink and accept this false claim or do we put all our energy and efforts into proving him wrong, overcoming our trials through hard work, perseverance, and clear focus on our Savior and his plan for us.
When we are going through adversity it is so difficult to see the light through the dark clouds- just as it was in the beginning stages of pattern making to visualize the end result while I was just looking a lines on a page, however I developed the ability to see the 3d form by looking at the pattern. I propose that another key to helping us get through our trials and adversity is to develop a habit of looking at life through an eternal perspective. In D&C 121:7 While Joseph Smith is a prisoner in Liberty Jail and suffering so greatly that he begs “Oh God, Where art thou?” he receives this wonderful comfort from the Savior “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endureth it well God shall exhalt thee on high.”
Dallin H. Oaks said : “At times we may despair that our burdens are too great. When it seems that a tempest is raging in our lives, we may feel abandoned and cry out like the disciples in the storm, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). At such times we should remember His reply: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (v. 40).”
How many times in our lives do we find ourselves selfishly saying Where is God? Trials come upon us and we ask why me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? But what was told to Joseph rings so true today- that with an eternal perspective this life is so short, and our trials are just a small moment. But if we endureth it well we will be exhalted on high. And as we have learned through President Eyring's talk, We need adversity. We need trials for our continual progression and growth, to give us the opportunity to make correct choices when we are faced with trying circumstances.
Eyring says: “the disciple who accepts a trial as an invitation to grow and therefore qualify for eternal life can find peace in the midst of the struggle.”
and although our trials may take us to our limit we must remember that He has already suffered it. “He will take up on him their infirmities , that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
In His early sermon in the synagogue, Jesus read aloud from this prophecy of Isaiah: “He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). As Jesus declared that He was come to fulfill that prophecy, He expressly affirmed that He would heal those with physical ailments and He would also deliver the captive, liberate the bruised, and heal the brokenhearted.
This same promise and effect applies to you mothers who are widowed or divorced, to you singles who are lonely, to you caregivers who are burdened, to you persons who are addicted, and to all of us whatever our burden. “Come unto Christ,” the prophet Moroni says, “and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).