My name is Mike Robbins. We just moved here toward the beginning of the year. My wife is Nancy and I, typically, I introduce myself just as Nancy's husband. But since moving the ward I think I might start just start introducing myself as Tosh’s neighbor.
We've lived the last seven years in the Harper Park Ward. Nancy is from Mission Viejo, she went to school at BYU Hawaii, and then served an 18-month mission in Korea. Nancy and I met in Salt Lake City where I was living in Provo and decided to go to architecture school at the University of Utah. Eventually, a job opportunity brought us back to Southern California. Pretty quickly after we moved to Huntington Beach, we began our family and now have four boys.
When I was given the topic to speak on it reminded me of when somebody at a church institute class shared the same scripture and they kind of had a different perspective on it. And it's something that's always stuck with me. I really love the multifaceted nature of the scriptures and that they can sort of adapt our understanding and learning to what we need and that is what is happening with me and this scripture Ether 12:27.
It's interesting that Moroni starts with talking about his weakness and right so he's talking about a very specific thing. But as he continues to talk about weakness, and the Lord talks about this, it opens up to kind of a broader picture of what weakness really is. We all have weaknesses. Or I should say we are weakness just being mortal.
There's an LDS scholar that illustrates this point really well that I love. He talks about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he says, Adam and Eve's choice was quite simple. Option one, you could stay here in the garden forever, never really having to work. Everything will be provided for you. You won't really grow because you won't be tried or tested or placed in difficult circumstances. You won't have children, but you also won’t have to deal with children and can just focus on the things you want to make, what you want to do or whatever you desire. Of course, you will never become like the Father because you'll never grow and none of your potential offspring will have the chance to become as the Father either because you're preventing them from becoming born so that you can live out your own personal desires and goals. Now option two, you'll sacrifice your own opportunity for ease and guaranteed pleasure. So that others can be born and have a chance to become Godlike. It'll be hard work. You're actually going to die. But you will have the potential through your sacrifice to become like God. You'll be tried and tested to the core. But this will make you like the Father. As a matter of fact the very things that will make this experience so hard, are the very things that will make you like God. You will likely have to give up some of the world worldly goals and aspirations in order to make it back to the Father. I just love that illustration and perspective of what this mortal life is and what our weakness means.
I love the author CS Lewis. I want to share a little bit out of his book the Screwtape Letters. If anybody is not familiar with the book, it is a series of letters written by a senior devil by the name of Screwtape to his novice demon nephew, Wormwood. So, as he writes these letters, he refers to our to God, our Heavenly Father as the ‘enemy’ and to us as his ‘patients’. So he is trying to kind of guide his nephew on how to tempt his patient and eventually capture his soul, right? So, he says my dear Wormwood, “So you have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying away. Has no one ever told you about the law of undulation? Their nearest approach to consistency is undulation. The repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you if you had watched your patient carefully, you would have seen that this undulation in every every department of his life. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty, the dryness and the illness through which your patient is now going or not, as you foolishly suppose your workmanship they are merely a natural phenomenon, which you will which will do us no good unless you make good use of it. To decide what the best use of it is. You must ask yourself, ask what use the enemy wants to make it. Now it may surprise you to learn that his efforts to get permanent possession of a soul. He relies on the troughs, even more than the peaks. Some of his special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. Our aim dear Wormwood is the absorption of the patients will into ours. One must face the fact that all the talk about his love and his service being perfect freedom is not mere propaganda but an appalling truth… He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of those little replicas of himself, creatures whose life will be quite will be positive not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conformed to His. We want cattle who we can find to become food He wants to servants who can finally become sons.
I want to share a personal spiritual experience. I feel probably like most of us we've all experienced these troughs. These moments of weakness are the follies of mortality. I was inactive from the church from when I was 15 years old to about 22 years old. When I came back to church, I was challenged to go on a mission. I did not want to go and I did not want to leave the comfort and pleasures of home but because I went I made and received covenants that I could have the power and protection that we've learned about these last few weeks as we've studied the life of Adam and Noah and Abraham. I testify that this Church is true, and that the gospel gives us access to Him. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.