1. Intro to Family: If someone stood up in the congregation at this moment and yelled “fire”.
a. Cici, my eleven year old daughter, would rush to the door with a clipboard, tell everyone to remain calm and make an alphabetized and color-coded list until each person was accounted for.
b. Charlie, my sixteen year old son, would start telling the person next to him about the great fire of Chicago and how it was the start of the gentrification of Chicago.
c. Gil, my handsome husband, would laugh, hysterically, tears streaming down his face, until he realized it was not a joke, at which point, he would literally break his back and light himself on fire rescuing any person who needed it.
d. I would stand frozen in indecision and fear until I realized my family was going three different directions and I would try, always trying to understand them all and get them to understand each other.
2. Invitation versus Commandment
The June 1945 Improvement Era contained an article about sustaining church leaders, which contained the quote: “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.” When this was brought to the attention of then-president George Albert Smith he wrote, he denounced the article and said, “Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church. The Lord Himself does not attempt coercion in His desire and effort to give peace and salvation to His children. He gives the principles of life and true progress, but leaves every person free to choose or to reject His teachings.”
3. Worldly versus spiritual health
a. What are worldly standards of health?
i. Physical: All of our different physical body systems are working in harmony, and we increase our physical health by giving our bodies balance and variety in food and fasting, sleep and waking, strenuous activity and rest.
1. Training is cyclical, but progression is steady
ii. Financial: We have sufficient income, a saving plan, and the ability to give generously. We increase our financial health by creating a diverse portfolio that balances risky investments with conservative investments and staying within a budget that balances needs and wants.
1. Markets are cyclical, but progression is steady
iii. Mental: We are able to process emotions, understand, develop and share thoughts, and create social bonds
1. Emotions and thought processes are cyclical, but progression is steady.
b. When we ask for healing, we may be asking for assistance in the worldly standards of health, but our creator was wise enough to make these types and shadows of spiritual health, or rightness with our heavenly parents.
4. Lessons I’ve learned about the healing power of the atonement
a. Healing is change, not a return to the same as before b. The Lord may not alleviate our suffering, but He will sanctify it
c. Healing happens in communities
i. Charlie’s diagnosis
1. When our son Charlie was eighteen months old, he suddenly lost his words. He stopped playing with other toddlers, and he would scream if he had the slightest discomfort.
2. After years of frustration, when he was four years old, he received a formal diagnosis. Autism.
3. I remember praying while I was driving him to and from his tests
4. The healing happened, but in a completely unexpected way. Instead of Charles being healed, I was healed, and our community was healed. We learned to expand our definition of what success looked like, and we learned to accommodate and absorb someone different from us into our family.
iii. We are co-creators of heaven, The Christ Who Heals by Fiona and Teryl Givens, pg. 86.
It is a privilege to be part of your faith community. My family has felt so welcome here, and we’ve recognized your efforts to integrate us into your ward family. I feel strongly that this effort to absorb members into our faith community is a part of the healing, strengthening power of the atonement.