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“Sometimes I pray for compassion, but more often I pray for harmlessness, the great spiritual quality embodied in the Hippocratic oath…it is my hope I may be used to serve a holy purpose without ever knowing. So sometimes, before I see a patient I offer up a little wordless prayer: Understanding the suffering is beyond me. Understanding the healing is, too. But in this moment, I am here. Use me.”
Rachel Naomi Remen M.D., Kitchen Table Wisdom, 272.
“Do we really comprehend, do we understand the …significance of… what we have?…we…are the end harvest of all that has gone before.”
Gorden B. Hinckley, Conference Report, Apr. 2004.
“In the Book of Mormon, there is another version of the Exodus story. In it, the Jaredites, forced from their homes by conditions that stifle their freedom, set out across great uncharted waters to reach the land of promise in boats sealed up tightly against the sea. Jared speaks to God about the difficulty in steering these boats in total darkness. He is told that if he brings stones with him, God will touch them and they will shine forth light.
The voyage is long and difficult in the extreme; there are mighty storms, and the boats are plunged deep beneath the water over and over again. But their seal holds, and the stones, touched by God, continue to shine. According to Jung, the stone is one of the two archetypal symbols for the soul. This image of a people sailing through heavy seas in search of freedom, steering only by the light that the touch of God kindles in their souls, is a particularly beautiful one for me.
The journey to freedom and the promised land may take many forms. Years ago, a friend in England sent me a card with a quote from King George V’s Christmas message to the British people. Shortly before I received this card, my mother, old and very ill, had come from New York City to live the last years of her life with me. She had loved this card and kept it in her purse. Throughout her final illness it stood on her bedside table. It was there on the day that she died. I have framed it now and keep it in my kitchen. It reads as follows:
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness.
And he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into
the hand of God.
That shall be more to you than a light and safer than a known
In the course of any lifetime there are times when one has to sail into the unknown without map or compass. These can be times of despair and terror; they can also be times of discovery. Having accompanied many people as they deal with the unknown, I find that the most moving part of the Mormon exodus story is a single line. Despite the challenges and great difficulties of this sea journey, “the wind always blows in the direction of the promised land.” I have seen many people spread their sails and catch this wind.
There is a grace in life that can be trusted. In our struggle toward freedom we are neither abandoned nor alone.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings, 375-376.
“We have two great challenges, you and I, and they never end as long as breath lasts; to choose God and to love each other.”
Marion D. Hanks
Matthew 17:2 “And [Jesus] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.”
John 10:16 “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.”
Alma 34:27 “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually…”
2 Nephi 32:3, 5 “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…it [the Holy Ghost] will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
1 Corinthians 2:16 “…But we have the mind of Christ.”
Alma 37:37 “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…”
Rev 10:9-10 “I took the little book…and ate it up.”
Jeremiah 15:16 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them…”
Ezekiel 3:1-3 “…Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll…then I did eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”
Luke 24:36-45 “…Then opened he their understanding.”
D&C 45:66,69 “And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God…and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.”
Revelation 21:1-22 (Stones in the New Jerusalem)
Exodus 28:17-20 (12 stones on the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel)
D&C 130:10-11, Revelation 2:17 (white stone with a new name written in it)
Exodus 24:10 “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone…”
Revelation 22:1-2 (River of the water of life)
Ezekiel 47:1-12 (Water from under the threshold of the house.)
1 Nephi 19:23 “…liken all scriptures unto us…”
Matthew 25:31-46 “unto one of the least of these…”
D&C 38:7 “But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me.”
1 Peter 3:12 “…the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers…”
2 Sam 6:14-16 “And David danced before the Lord with all his might…So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet…king David leaping and dancing before the Lord.”
Moses 7:28-33 (Why God weeps.)
Mark 12:30-31 (Shema) “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”