All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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A Man of Sorrows

In my last post, I talked about sadness – and my own lack thereof – and how it is a necessary part of our life, ultimately allowing us to receive a greater happiness.

I thought at the time that it was a distinct topic from my series on the sacrament (you can read the posts in that series here). But as I sat in church today listening to the sacrament prayers, I realised that wasn’t the case. Obviously, all gospel topics are inter-related in some ways, but this was more so than I had imagined.

To bless and sanctify. Bread and Water. Emblems of His death and suffering. To our souls. Hmm.

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My Psalm of Sadness

I don’t feel sad.

I don’t mean just at this moment – although I don’t feel sad at this moment. I don’t even mean in the last week or month. I simply don’t feel sad, well, ever.

The last time I remember feeling sad and crying was when I was 8 years old. I was living in Australia, and my big sister had just got married and left the country. I remember crying that night because Debbie had left me. My parents, brother and three other sisters were still around, but somehow my big sister leaving made me sad. That was 40 years ago.

I’ve had numerous events in my life since then that should have made me sad, of course. And when others learn of them they are often sad for me.

As I’ve spoken of before, I’ve suffered from pretty serious bouts of depression through the years too. But my depression isn’t sadness – it’s hollow (although discussion of that is for another day). I feel depression. I don’t feel sadness.

Now, you might be thinking that not being able to feel sad sounds great. No tears, no bursting of the chest, no… whatever you feel when you’re sad. But it isn’t. Because sadness is an important emotion that helps us process important events in our lives.

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When God Hath Tried Me

I was asked to give a talk in our Stake General Priesthood meeting last night about how we can support those who suffer from depression. For those of you who know me, it is a topic close to my heart. Depression is something that I am unfortunately far too familiar with, but I have recently been discussing it much more in the hopes to provide both some degree of comfort for others who suffer, as well as a greater understanding for those who don’t.

Anyway, here is my talk, below. Because it is a talk to men who hold the Priesthood, there are references to Priesthood Quorums, and to Home Teachers (in the LDS church, Home Teachers are men who are asked visit individuals and families in the church to watch over and care for them), but the principles apply more broadly.

Whatever your own circumstance, I hope you find it helpful.

 

As the book of Job begins in the Old Testament, the writer tells us that Job was a, “perfect and upright [man], and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1) In addition to his righteousness, Job had also been blessed with great material possessions, making him “the greatest of all the men in the east.” (Job 1:3)

Within a short period of time, however, Job had lost everything. His herds had been stolen, his servants slain. His children had all died in tragic accidents and his property had been destroyed. And after all of this, his body then became covered, “with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:7)

When we speak of Job, we often refer to his continued faith despite his trials – certainly a lesson worth studying – but I would like to focus on a different aspect of Job’s experience. Continue reading


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A White Covering

This is a continuation of my series of posts discussing the ordinance of the sacrament within the LDS faith. The first post, Remembering Him, is here.

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

In my last post, Our Modern Altars, I talked about the table upon which the bread and water of the sacrament is placed. A table which serves as a modern altar for us. Today I’m going to discuss the cloth covering the same bread and water.

I started preparing this post thinking that one would be enough to talk about the significance and symbolism of the sacrament cloth, but it has developed so much I’ll need to take two. So this is part 1.

Indeed, there is so much to ponder when considering the sacrament cloth it’s difficult to know where to start. So perhaps it’s best to start with the Church handbook.

“Sacrament tablecloths should be white, nontransparent, clean, and pressed.” (Handbook 2, Administering the Church, 20.4.2)

It would be easy to read this sentence and think that only the colour of the cloth is symbolic, white being the symbolic colour of purity; the other requirements being primarily signs of respect. And while having a clean and pressed cloth certainly does show respect, there is more to it than that. Continue reading


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Depression and the Atonement (part 2)

In the first post on this topic I looked at examples of several good “righteous” people, who have suffered from Depression, including I believe the great Old Testament prophet Moses, as well as the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob.  In this post I’ll discuss another example from Moses’ life that I think helps us to understand how we can be supported Cloudsthrough such feelings ourselves, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Continue reading