Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I’m back.

I’ve been on a self-imposed hiatus. There was some vacation time, some minor surgery, adjusting to my new seminary calling, and some other things going on.

Life does that, of course. It jumps up and surprises us in a variety of ways and sometimes it takes us a little bit of time to find our balance again.


There are two images that come to mind. One is of a teeter-totter balancing on a fulcrum. We try to keep the right side and the left side even so that it stays in balance. As weight is added to one side, we need to add it to the other, and the same as weight is taken away. This is a really difficult and tedious process that requires us to monitor two things at once (instead of just one), to measure not only each action, but its consequences.

The other is a bicycle on a wire. The rims of the wheels of the bicycle fit over the wire, and there is a substantial counterweight under the bicycle. The counterweight is heavy enough to give the bicycle stability on the wire, even if the lateral pressure is inconsistent.

If I had to choose, I’d prefer the balance of the bicycle to the balance of the teeter-totter. The counterweight is what makes all the difference.

As I’ve thought about the past few weeks, I’ve appreciated the counterweight of the gospel in my life. It has provided me stability. It has centered me when I needed it the most. And that is, for me, one of the greatest blessings of the gospel in my life.

My last few weeks have not been burdensome. The vacation was terrific. The surgery and subsequent recovery were necessary and uneventful (meaning it all went as planned). The new calling to teach seminary, while overwhelming, is spectacular.

Owing largely to the seminary calling, I’ve begun a new study of the Book of Mormon. Taking a cue from our new mission president, who happened to pop into our seminary in-service meeting a few weeks ago, I bought a new paper copy of the Book of Mormon to study for this year. As I read 1 Nephi 1:20 (one of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon long before Elder Bednar made it famous), I was touched again by the talk of tender mercies.

Moroni 10:3 also talks about God’s mercy to His children. In Nephi, we’re promised to read of the Lord’s tender mercies to those who believe in Him. In Moroni, we’re counseled to remember how merciful God has been to the children of men from the time of Adam. I’ve been noting tender mercies in my reading of the Book of Mormon, and how Nephi and Lehi both use them regularly in their teaching.

Those tender mercies in my life – the ones I recognize in my own life and in God’s relationship with man from the beginning – are the counterbalance in my life; they help keep me centered. They keep me balanced.

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