Listening to a speaker at Conference yesterday reminded me of a talk President Hinckley once gave. While both men focused their words to single mothers, the Prophet directed his words specifically to those with emotional pain.
Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a very large cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.
The same can often be said of emotional pain. When I was LDS I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already gained. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding the only cure — my Savior.
When I met the true Christ I learned that no one can gain forgiveness with their own works. John the Baptist declares that Christ’s works have already taken away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The forgiveness of sins comes only through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice. And Jesus sacrificed His perfect life for us over 2,000 years ago. The Apostle Peter testifies that forgiveness is granted the moment a person believes in Jesus: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43).
Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often “cry in your closet” but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but “put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others“?Some years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: “Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.”
Hiding your pain from family and friends is never the answer! If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to LDS prophets they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.
My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover that Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compel your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).
Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens.
Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit the joy of living with your Savior for life eternal.
|Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
|Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:
Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said… “You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.”
Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. “Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.
Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
|General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church