Sunday, February 3, 2013

Primary 3, Lesson 5

Dear Daniel,

I'm a little disturbed today by a paragraph in my Primary Manual.  I'll share the last paragraph with you.
"Be sure to emphasize that Heavenly Father and Jesus usually answer prayers by giving us a peaceful feeling, which the children will learn more about in another lesson.  The children should not expect Heavenly Father and Jesus to appear to them to answer their prayers."  
Daniel, I find this very, very disturbing.  This book was published/copyrighted in 1994 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I sustain my leaders; I teach from the manual put out by the Church.  However, this teaching is no different than any other church, which tells us that these things no longer happen.  They can, they should, and they do.  This is the kind of teaching that God told Joseph was "corrupt".
"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
Does God want us to draw until Him with our hearts?  Or only our lips?  What is the difference between the two?  How do we draw near to God with our lips, and not our hearts too?

And does telling a 5 year old that they should not expect Heavenly Father and Jesus to appear to them "deny the power thereof"?  I'm not saying that's the case, but I am certainly pondering it.

I understand the point of the lesson, and the idea that we shouldn't feel sad and depressed if we haven't experienced such things, yet.  But the scriptures are FULL of people experiencing these things, and partly why they're included is to show us that these things do happen!  I find this last line very, very disturbing.  God wants us to seek such things, which is why I believe so many things in the scriptures are veiled from our view.  It reminds me of when we encouraged you to walk.  We stood a little ways away, and waited for you to step into our arms.  We stepped back so you could step forward in faith.

God is an unchanging God.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  How many times is that line repeated throughout scripture?  So just as James' admonition spoke to Joseph about God upbraiding (scolding) not for us asking, He does not scold us for asking with sincerity either.  He wants us to, He expects us to, and when we choose not to, it is it OUR condemnation.  Just because He has not appeared to us, or to common, everyday man, does not mean that He won't, can't, or that we shouldn't hope that He will.

Don't forget to ask, little one.  Maybe someday, He will appear to you.