Sunday, July 26, 2020

Home Church and the Book of Mormon

Happy Sunday, everyone! 😁 I hope you are all doing well on this lovely sabbath day! As with every Sunday, I have church on my mind! Boy oh boy, do I love all things related to church, spirituality, divinity, and religion! 😇

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my family and I have mainly been doing home church since March 15th. That said, on May 19th (The 23rd anniversary of when my darling Gregor proposed to me!! 💕💍💖), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced: "we now authorize some meetings and activities to be resumed on a limited basis using a careful, phased approach." Yay yay happy day! Hip hip hooray! #clapclap 👏

Thus, on June 21st, we so very happily celebrated our return to worshiping with our ward members in our actual church building! It was such an exciting event! We've been on a rotating schedule of doing home church on the first, second, fourth, and fifth (if applicable) Sundays of every month; we have in-person sacrament meetings with our wonderful ward members on the third Sunday of every month. Our second in-person sacrament meeting was this past Sunday, July 19th—it was so great, I loved it so much!

While I dearly miss regular in-person church, my family and I have been having some absolutely amazing and profound home church experiences together!

I began having my family focus our home sacrament meetings on the brilliant Come, Follow Me program that was introduced to the Church's membership in July, 2018. It's absolutely not a coincidence that the Church implemented their "home-centered, Church-supported" study program in January, 2019—one year before COVID-19 became a global pandemic. It's fully amazing that we had had an entire year of studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home together with our families in greater depth than we ever had before.

Talk about inspiration! 💛 They didn't know it at the time, but the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were unknowingly preparing Church members for the worldwide pandemic that would paralyze our entire planet just one year later. It truly blows my mind when I think of their level of inspiration! 🤯

After the first couple of weeks of our family home church—consisting of opening and closing prayers, studying Come, Follow Me, and partaking of the sacrament, I felt greatly inspired to have us start watching the Book of Mormon Videos on one of The Church's YouTube channels. I told Greg of my feelings, and he agreed with me. Yay! 😍

Each week after that, my family has had opening/closing prayers and partaken of the sacrament as usual, but I've now included having us watch and discuss a couple of Book of Mormon videos, followed with our stake leadership's weekly YouTube video message—which we've sometimes discussed, but sometimes those talks stand on their own and they haven't needed further discussion. Oh, and to make our experience even better, I signed into my YouTube account through our Roku YouTube app so we can watch the Book of Mormon together on our big-screen TV—which is so cool cool cool! 🤩 *Bonus points if you know what "cool cool cool" is from! 😄

It's been utterly astounding to me how greatly the Book of Mormon Videos have enhanced our home church! They instantly and fully bring the Spirit into our home! They give fresh insight, important context, and beautiful, tender feelings to the stories we've read and studied for years—I've had little tears while watching them more times than I can remember! 🥺 They show great examples to my family that I will be forever grateful for! 💗 And they always lead to wonderful, faith-filled, hopeful discussions about this life and eternity. They succeed at what movie makers for generations have tried to accomplish: positively impact audiences in ways they'll never forget! The Book of Mormon Videos evoke such depth of emotions that totally complement the way one feels while reading the actual book. 📘

I still absolutely love reading, studying, and listening to the scriptures. Watching the Book of Mormon Videos will never take the place of traditional scripture study by book. I know beyond any doubt that the Holy Ghost gives us the gift of vital truths when we sincerely read and study the scriptures. The holy scriptures are there for our benefit and use—every single day of our lives! Yet the Book of Mormon videos are one more brilliant way to really come to understand and love the messages that the Book of Mormon prophets, writers, and contributors are trying to convey and help us implement into our lives.

When I knew that the Lord wanted me to show all of the Book of Mormon Videos to my family, I decided to create a private playlist on my YouTube account. You see, The Church's YouTube channel has a ton of Book of Mormon Videos: longer videos, and snippet videos of particular stories that are also part of the longer videos.

While it's helpful to have so many excellent videos—especially for when you're teaching a specific principal found in the Book of Mormon, it's also a little confusing to know if you're re-watching snippet videos that you've already seen in the longer videos. Trying to navigate which videos my family should watch for our home church was a little time consuming; I clicked on too many videos, wondering if we should watch that snippet video, too, or if we'd already seen it.

Thus, I created my first-ever playlist on YouTube! 👏😃 You laugh, but that was quite the momentous occasion for me! It's taken me many years, but I am finally an active participant and huge fan of all the goodness that YouTube has to offer. And of course, I stay away from all the weirdo, strange, and trashy videos out there. #nothankyou! 👎

I'm sooo grateful to my beloved church and its participating members for creating such lovely, spiritual masterpieces that will positively affect countless souls and bless humanity forever! Or, at least for as long as technology survives! 😄

I can't wait until all of the Book of Mormon Videos are completed and released! 2021 can't come soon enough, and it's not just because we want the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic to finally end! Ha ha. I hope that The Church will one day release a full-length Book of Mormon Movie with all of their fabulous videos rolled into one big cinematic masterpiece for the world to enjoy in movie theaters! Wow, can you imagine how spectacular that would be?! 😁

But back to the inspiration of The Church's leadership...again, I'm amazed at the perfect timing of the release of the Book of Mormon Videos. They were given to us exactly when we needed them: less than six months before COVID-19 upended our lives. Just wow. I'm super thrilled that even more of their wonderful videos are coming 👏—they will continue to support and inspire us through these crazy changes we're experiencing on nearly a daily basis! #pandemicfatigue 😟

Today, I decided it was time to release my playlist publicly(!) so that others can enjoy it, too! Yay! I reviewed all of the videos in my playlist, and they are all up to date. 👍 I'll update my playlist every time The Church releases a new video.

Without further ado, here is my beloved playlist of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ! I dearly hope you'll press play many times and let your soul go on a life-changing journey that will bring you joy! 😇 

*As with anything, having the right mindset before participating in an activity makes all the difference. If you can watch the Book of Mormon Videos with an open heart and mind, your experience will be that much better. I highly recommend praying before watching them for the first time: pray that your heart and mind will be open to the Spirit; pray that you'll understand and internalize the many great truths being offered; pray that your soul will be willing to make those changes that will bless your life and others; pray that you'll have a soft heart toward things you might not understand or agree with.

Please know that I love The Book of Mormon with my whole heart and soul! It has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember. Yet I'm most definitely not simply just a "blind" follower of my religion. I have spent uncountable hours upon hours studying, researching, and praying about all things related to Heaven. I have spent my entire life desiring to be extremely close to God, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ—the literal Savior of our world and all of God's children. I have done everything possible to cultivate a working, successful relationship with the Holy Ghost who allows me that closeness with Them and Their angels. I continually choose to allow Them into my life to influence me for good—even though the outcome of whatever comes my way might not be exactly what I wish for or desire at the time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are two of the most important aspects of my life and who I fundamentally am—I love them and refuse to ever be separated from them! As the saying goes: I am true blue, through and through! 💙😊

Photo Credit: Gospel Media Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Finally, I must share this fascinating tidbit: as I was writing this blog post today, I received an email from my ward's clerk. In it, our ward was told about our new in-person sacrament meeting schedule. Much to my delight, my ward now gets to meet more often than we have in the month of June and July! Yay! We're not back to in-person sacrament meetings each and every Sunday, but I'm so grateful we get to at least meet together twice a month now! 👏😀

Some may be skeptical, but I truly believe my ward's news that was delivered today is a beautiful tender mercy just for me! Yes, this updated sacrament meeting schedule will benefit our entire ward, but today's announcement was an incredible reminder to me that my Heavenly Parents, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost dearly love me and are very aware of the desires of my heart! And yes, I am super cheesy today! Okay, let's be realistic: when am I not cheesy?! 😂 I can't help but relish the overwhelming feelings of love from Heaven that are sent directly to me. And it feels really good. 💛💛💛
"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
*If you'd like to read, listen to, and study the Book of Mormon in its entirety, download the app! 😀

If you'd like to read the Book of Mormon online, please click here and have a happy day! 🤗