Tuesday, May 5, 2015


On Sunday I gave a lesson in Relief Society on Elder Dennis E. Simmons talk, "But if Not." I chose the talk because it had a lesson in it that I really needed to learn, and it seemed like a lot of the people around me were having a tough time with some things that it teaches as well.

So on the off chance some of you are needing some help with some of these things, I thought I'd share it here on the blog with some of ya'll as well! 

The talk discusses the story in Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar has created a golden image and commands all men to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refuse to, and are threatened with the fiery furnace. In response to this in Daniel 3:17-18, they say:

17: If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 
18: But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

But if not, but if not, but if not

It is super impressive to me that they are able to say this in such a dire time. Like, the odds at that point don't seem particularly in their favor. I probably wouldn't want to even CONSIDER a "but if not." They are about to be cast into a fire, and they are saying “well if the Lord doesn’t save us we still trust Him.” How many times have I been in a dire circumstance like that where I pray and say, “Ok I have faith that you can do this, I NEED you to do this. And then said "thy will be done," but really in my heart I am thinking, “look, if this doesn’t happen I am gonna have a full on melt down.”

 Have any of you ever had an experience where you have taken a desire of yours to the Lord and said, “Ok this is what I want, but if not, I still trust you," and then had the blessing from not getting what you wanted end up benefitting you more than your own plan? We had quite a few girls in our class share wonderful experiences where that exact thing happened to them. It was wonderful for us to be reminded by real life examples that the Lord will come through in the best way for each of us.


Within the story in Daniel, as well as the various stories these girls shared, the underlying theme is that in order to say "but if not," they have to trust God. They each trusted the Lord so much, that they were willing to experience whatever he saw fit for them to experience. 

“To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.”-Richard G. Scott

My cousin and I were talking a couple of days ago about the experiment done in psychology with the kids and the marshmallows. The one where they give them one and then tell them that if they wait fifteen minutes they will get to have two. She told me that she had no doubt in her mind that her little boy would wait for the second marshmallow. I told her the entire experiment seemed like a small representation of how the Lord works with us. Only he adds a twist. He says, "Here is a marshmallow, if you wait fifteen minutes, i will bring you SOMETHING back that is better." I asked her if she thought if she told her little boy that if he waited fifteen minutes to eat his marshmallow, she would bring him "something," better back, would he still wait? She quickly said, "If it were a stranger offering it, probably not, but if it were me absolutely."

He knows her, so he trusts her.

The same goes for us with the Lord, as I said in my last post, if we know God, we can trust God.

*Temple Attendance

The classic Sunday school answers right? Essentially choosing the right… but how does that allow us to know Him? The truth is, simply going through the motions won’t do it alone. When we are in the depths of despair, there are times where as President Eyring once said, “Acting on even a particle of faith allows the Lord to grow it,” and that is a perfect place to start. But how can we adjust our intentions so that we are fully invested? 

One of the girls answered this by saying that we need to recognize that we each have a light that needs to be shared with the world. We have things that the Lord needs us to do, and in order to do them we need the spirit to be our companion. What invites the spirit? The Sunday school answers we just addressed. So, if we are doing these things as an investment, simply hoping for a return of having our problems go away, our intention is skewed. But if we do them because we love the Lord and want to serve his children, we will come to understand our Savior in a very personal way.


“I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will.”

I was once told a story about a young girl who was convinced she would someday be crowned Miss America. What is more than this, she actually felt prompted to compete. She felt a spiritual impression that this is what she needed to do in her life. There was no doubt in her mind. She prepared, worked hard and made it all of the way into the top five contestants left. Her talent that she performed was singing "Think of Me," from The Phantom of The Opera. As the crowning of the winner happened, this girls face fell when her name was called to announce her as the third place winner. She was shocked. She had KNOWN deep in her bones that she was going to win, and then she didn't! The experience really rocked her for a couple of days as she couldn't understand why she felt she should compete for all of those years. Then, later that week she got a call from the then current director of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. He had heard her performance on the show and wanted to offer her the part of Christine in his show. From there she moved to New York and had many very important doors open to her that would not have happened had she been crowned Miss America. The Lord knows what we need and how he wants us to get there. We need to trust this.


Lately my Dad keeps reminding me of the story in 1st Nephi 7 where Nephi's brothers had bound him with chords. The scriptures say:

16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.
 17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.
 18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.

Ok so he doesn't say this, but I think if I were Nephi, after I asked Heavenly Father to burst the bands I would feel like, "Sweet! This is perfect, they will see how powerful you are, and they will see how powerful someone can be when they have the spirit with them and it will be so awesome. My idea is super great!" But then the Lord just casually loosens them. In my head I can hear the sound of a balloon deflating as they slink off of his arms. It's sort of anticlimactic... and if I were Nephi, while I was grateful to be liberated, it would be hard for my human heart not to be slightly let down.

But the end purpose was fulfilled. Both our goal, and the Lords goal is to get us back to Him. The roads we might plan on getting us there may be different, but what is important to recognize is that where we are going is the goal. He knows his stuff, so we need to just believe Him when what we want doesn't necessarily happen.


“He has the power, but it’s our test…. We must understand great challenges make great men…The but if nots can become remarkable blessings.” Elder Dennis E. Simmons 

Though not getting what we reasonably feel we need is hard, if we keep the faith things will work out. 

I know God loves you, and I know he loves me, and that knowledge tells me that we will be ok. 

"Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.
Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. … He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. … We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, … we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has." -Elder Dennis E. Simmons

A group of my salt lake girlfriends did a group date night last weekend and it was a hoot! 

Yay for cinco de mayo!

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