I love my ward. We had a terrific sacrament meeting on Sunday.
Our first speaker was a new member (less than a year) who talked about his conversion story and his experience reading the Book of Mormon. He said years ago a friend gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he tried to read it, but he could not understand it. In the last year, however, something changed. As he was taking the missionary lessons (after he wandered into an LDS chapel), he not only was able to read the Book of Mormon and understand it, but he couldn’t put it down. He read late into the night and within days had finished the book and had a testimony that it was true.
I was reminded of the Parley Pratt story from his autobiography:
“I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep” (Quoted in “The Extraordinary Life of Parley P. Pratt,” Ensign, April 2007).
Our good brother then pointed out that as he read, he kept himself awake with a cup of coffee. He said, “I love coffee.” He acknowledged that learning to live the Word of Wisdom was a challenge. If only for his talk last Sunday, I’m glad he’s made the effort.
The next speaker was sister who joined the church at about age 20 – 30 years ago. She began her talk by acknowledging that she also loves coffee, and that before she came into contact with the church, she did many of the things common among the youth in the European country of her origin, including drinking coffee. She then reassured the first brother that he would be fine.
I was reminded of what Clayton Christensen taught us a few years ago in some leadership training, that if we don’t smell some tobacco in our sacrament meeting, we’re falling short, suggesting that it is good for us to have in our midst those who are striving to be better than they are today, and that associating only with those who have “arrived” at righteousness (if such a thing were possible) would shortchange us.
I’m grateful for those who are willing to associate with me, despite my striving to improve, and I’m grateful for those around me who show me how to improve.