Megan gave her farewell talk today in church. We are grateful for those that were able to attend and offer their support to Megan. There have been a few requests for copies of her talk from family and friends unable to attend so I have included her talk here...
I have been asked to speak to you today about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I have pondered and prayed on this topic, there are certain aspects of it that I would like to focus on today:
First – God is our loving Heavenly Father
Second – Christ established a Church when he was on the earth, and that church was restored through a Prophet of God in our dispensation
Lastly – I would like to share how the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His Church has blessed my life
One of the vital messages of the Restoration and of this gospel is that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He is not a distant figure who has no sympathy for the troubles of the world. He loves each and every one of us so much because we are his children. He watches us grow and learn and make mistakes and try to fix them. He waits patiently for us to take our troubles and fears to him so that he can comfort us. My favorite poem addresses this desire our Father in Heaven has to comfort and care for us ::
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
When I was up at BYU there were days when I felt so discouraged about classes or friends or the fact that I didn’t have any more mac’n’cheese in the pantry. On these days I could turn to the support of wonderful friends, and I did. But when I was upset I wanted nothing more than to call my parents. I knew that my amazing mom and dad would listen to my rambling and tears and frustrations with so much patience and love. They would let me talk about everything as much as I needed to, they would give me calm guidance and comfort. I know that they will always be there for me to help me and to listen to me. I imagine that powerful love and trust and friendship that I have with my parents, and then extend it infinitely and I am overwhelmed by the love of my Heavenly Father. I know that when I turn to Him in sincere prayer, he hears me and guides me and loves me unconditionally.
Our Father in Heaven is not only a parent, but he is also the ruler of the earth. This gives us an amazing divine role as children of a King. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a minor obsession with the British monarchy. I’ve seen more documentaries on the royal family than is normal for a 20 year-old girl, or really anyone for that matter. So you can imagine how powerfully this image of my divine right as a daughter of a King resonates with me. But being royalty is not all about sitting in towers brushing your hair and riding horses through meadows, there are duties that come with this role. Recently, Kate Middleton married into the royal family. The world has watched as she has had to embrace her role and duties as a member of the royal family. In her transition from a civilian to royalty she had to think about the way her actions would appear to the world and reflect on her new family. Often we lose sight of our divine role and live without concern for how our choices affect those around us and how they reflect on our Heavenly Father. As we strive to be more aware of our roles as children of God we must remember that our King and Father needs us to be his representatives. He needs us to share His love for His children, especially those who have lost their way. So many people are completely unaware of the love of their Father in Heaven, and I am thrilled that Heavenly Father has trusted me to share the amazing message of this gospel with the people of Brazil as his daughter and ambassador.
God loves us and wants us to be loved on this earth. He wants us to feel joy and the many blessings that he can provide us with. The best way for him to do this is to have a prophet on the earth who receives direct revelation for the world and can teach us the way that Heavenly Father desires us to live. When Christ ministered on the earth, Heavenly Father had a connection with so many people through the Savior. Christ administered teaching, healing, and love under direction from the Father. In addition, Christ established His church on the earth. We learn about this in the New Testament in Ephesians chapter 4, verses 11 and 12, which reads:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
That perfect gospel was lost when Christ’s chosen apostles died or were martyred, but was restored to the earth through Heavenly Father’s trusting and relying on prophets as we are promised he will always do in the Old Testament, in Amos chapter 3, verse 7.
Joseph Smith was a young boy living in Palmyra, New York during the Reformation. During this time people were infused with religious fervor, trying to reform or change established religions to be more correct and to bring them closer to God. What these people did not know was that more than just a reformation was needed. The Church of Jesus Christ as established by Him had been lost and needed to be restored in its entirety to the earth. Young Joseph Smith was seeking God and answers as he tried to decide which church was the most correct. As he sought answers in the Bible he read a scripture in James 1:5 that told him to ask God. He decided to do just that, and went to a grove of trees to pray and seek the answer on which church to join. As an answer to humble boy’s prayer, Joseph witnessed a miracle….Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and he was told not to join any of the churches. Rather he was taught that Christ’s church needed to be restored so that all aspects of the gospel could be made available to Heavenly Father’s children.
In seeking, he turned to the scriptures to find an answer in God’s words. Joseph Smith’s example of actively seeking out answers through God’s words has changed my life. Earlier this year as I struggled with the decision whether or not to serve a mission, I had prayed more times than I could count about what I should do. I felt as if I wasn’t getting an answer, like I wasn’t going to get an answer. I was alone in my apartment one day and feeling so frustrated that I didn’t know what to do. I went in my room and prayed, just as I had been doing, but instead of just saying amen and walking away, I pulled out my scriptures. I knew that I desperately needed some sort of answer and I opened to a page at random hoping that I could find some solace or guidance. I found myself in 3 Nephi chapter 16.
“ And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land . . . For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice . . . But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd. ”
As I read these words I knew that Heavenly Father had heard my prayers, but that he had been waiting for me to seek an answer. And here it was. I needed to go and help those who were lost to hear Christ’s voice so that they could come into the fold of His church. As I continued with the practical side of preparing to start my mission papers like discussing the idea with my parents and bishop, I constantly went back to this experience and the overwhelming feeling of heavenly guidance that accompanied those verses. I know that if we, like Joseph Smith, turn to the scriptures with faith and with questions they will bless our lives more than we can possibly imagine.
The Restoration of the gospel has changed my life. Because of the principles of this church I have felt so much joy and been able to find solace in times of need. I know that we have a prophet on the earth to guide us. I know that I will live with my family for eternity. I know that I have the word of God at my disposal with the Book of Mormon. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins and that he understands any heartache that I feel. I know that God lives and that he is my Heavenly Father and that he loves me.
All of this knowledge is amazing, but having the knowledge is not enough. I need to do something with that knowledge. Elder Charles Didier, one of the leaders of our church, spoke in a General Conference of the church about the Restoration and our duty concerning it. He addressed how we often ask “why.”
“ Why do I need to go to church or serve a mission? Why are we commanded to share the gospel with others? This last question is challenging! Missionary work is also the responsibility of every member—to sound the warning voice to their neighbors, in mildness and in meekness. Why? So that others may receive the saving ordinances in the Church of Jesus Christ by inviting them to come unto Christ. The message of the Restoration is this invitation to know why the gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church have been restored by a prophet in modern times. ”
His message reminds us that once we come to know Christ and His church we have a responsibility to help others and lead them to Him and His church. As I have prepared to serve my mission I have realized that finding happiness and a stronger testimony does not come through turning away from others to focus on yourself. It comes through service to others. Recently I heard a story that illustrates this concept ::
I have a feeling that there are some people in Brazil who won’t be able to find their balloon and come to know who they truly are unless I accept the call from my Heavenly Father to go and find them and share the gospel of Jesus Christ that is so precious to me. I am so excited to let them know that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father, that Christ’s church has been restored to the earth through Prophetic revelation, and that their lives can be eternally blessed by becoming members of His Church. I know this knowledge will bless their lives as it has blessed mine. I know that it will bless the lives of anyone who seeks for answers from God through the scriptures and prayer, just as Joseph Smith did….just as I have done.
family and friends...thank you for being a part of this day
megan's sweet friends from high school...just missing elise and claire
a few of meg's friends from byu that she just adores
and these byu boys
some cousin loving
shannon's (meg's roommate) mom and sister...shannon currently serving a mission in fort lauderdale florida was greatly missed (especially by these three)