Before They Were Ours

from Britney

In Healing Through Christ, we learn to apply the spiritual adage, let go and let God. We put this principle into practice as we allow Him to do for our loved ones what we are not able to do. We recognize that “God manages things better than we do.”1 Several years ago, I learned the value of letting go and letting God when I faced a challenge with my oldest child.

We moved from Arkansas to Michigan for an employment opportunity right before my son started Kindergarten. I didn’t know much about Michigan before moving there, but I knew enough to expect bitterly cold winters. I couldn’t remember ever wearing a pair of snow pants as a child in the South, much less going to school (or anywhere) in winter weather. The idea of sending my very young little boy to school in several inches of snow wearing insulated pants, boots, hat, and mittens was completely foreign to me. He was so small. I didn’t know if he could handle it. In addition to the stresses of unfamiliar weather and wardrobe, I had other fears about sending my first baby out into the world. He was a homebody who had a lot of anxiety about facing anything new.

One day in November, the first snow started to fall. Before school the next morning, I had a very worried little boy who did not like the idea of adding layers of clothing to his routine. I couldn’t convince him to put on any of his snow gear. His fears came out in the form of tears. I tried to console him as we were running out of time to make it to the bus stop. He continued to sob. I assured him that he would have help at school to learn new procedures. I reminded him that other kids were learning too. I silently prayed for help followed by a prayer aloud with him. It didn’t seem to help. I knew I would have to drive him to school and hand-deliver him to his teacher. I gathered his two younger siblings, and we all headed to school. Still in our pajamas, we walked our sad boy through the halls to his classroom with the sound of swishing little snow pants all around us. I explained his worries to his teacher, reassured him, and turned to leave. It broke my heart to say goodbye. He was emotionally overwhelmed, and his teacher was busy tending to the chaos of a classroom of almost thirty little kindergartners. As I left, I wanted nothing more than to go back, scoop up my little boy, and bring him home with me where he really wanted to be, but I tried not to worry.

Later that morning, I received a call from a school specialist. She told me she had pulled my son out of class for an assessment, and she was calling me to report how it went. Before she shared the results with me, she said, “When I sat down with your son, he rested his head on my shoulder for a little while. It was very sweet.”

“He had a hard morning,” I replied.

After we ended our conversation, tears of gratitude filled my eyes. I knew at that moment that Heavenly Father was aware of my child. Even though he was in a class full of other students with only one teacher to care for them all, Heavenly Father provided a way. He sent another loving adult to sit with my little one and give him the attention and comfort he needed on that particularly difficult day. I not only recognized Heavenly Father’s love for my child, but I also felt His awareness of me. What if the school specialist had waited to call me, or what if she hadn’t even told me about the tender moment she had with my son? I believe she was prompted by the Spirit to contact me right away and share it all with me. I believe Heavenly Father knew my worries and heard my prayers. He wanted me to know that this child, who was so dear to me, was in good hands and that He had sent help. He wanted to comfort me.

Elder Orson F. Whitney taught that our children “were [God’s] before they were [ours]—long before he entrusted them to [our] care; and [we] cannot begin to love them as he loves them.”2 No matter the age of our children, whether they are small or grown, we can trust that Heavenly Father will work in their lives in ways that will touch them. Through their challenges, He will provide help and important lessons tailored to their needs. He knows them well, and He knows how to bless them. We can pray with them and for them. We can walk with them and support and encourage them, but the responsibility to care for our children is not entirely on us. When they’re out of our reach, He will send others to sit with them and help carry their burdens. When they’re alone and face overwhelming trials, He will wrap His loving arms around them.

pablo (8)

On that snowy November day in Michigan, I realized that I can place my fears as a parent in the hands of God and trust that He knows the best way to care for all of His children, including my children. I learned what it means to let go and let God

1Healing Through Christ: Help, Hope, and Healing for those who have a loved one in addiction, 26

2Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, April 1929, 110

Thanks to Britney for submitting this post. If you would like to submit a post that reflects your hope, faith, and experience with the Steps, please send it to thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com

 

 

Our Father Hears Us

from Britney

Recently I felt frustrated with a perceived lack of God’s help in my life. I had been working hard to improve my relationships, yet I didn’t think I was making any progress. In fact, it seemed that I was actually experiencing more challenges and less spiritual guidance than I had in the past despite my continued efforts to stay close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My frustration led me to feel somewhat rebellious. If I was doing my best to obey and I didn’t seem to be getting any help from heaven, why should I even bother trying? This state of defiance dulled my sense of right and wrong. I felt as if there were forces inside of me pulling me in two opposing directions, and it was spiritually painful. My spirit was torn.

After identifying these negative emotions through writing, I knew I needed to share them with Heavenly Father in prayer. Some time passed before I was ready to take that step, but when I finally did, I immediately felt a very specific prompting to read an old journal of mine. It was unexpected advice, but I quickly obeyed. As I read my own thoughts and experiences from years ago, I knew why I was guided to it. My testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ was scattered throughout my writing. In those entries, I enthusiastically declared my love of the scriptures and how important it was for me to have the influence of the Spirit in my life every day. I expressed a strong desire to do good always. I knew that the Holy Ghost led me to read that journal as a way to testify of truth to myself from myself. I was amazed that even though I had been upset with my Heavenly Father, He had been patiently waiting for me to come back to Him and ask for help. There was no delay in His response to my prayer despite my negative feelings toward Him.

Have patience

Later that evening, I prayed again. I spoke with Heavenly Father more about my disappointment with the absence of clear guidance from Him. Again, I felt an immediate answer to my prayer as the following message came into my mind: “Have patience. Your story is not over. I am still working in your life.” I knew it was true, and I asked Heavenly Father if He would help me better recognize His hand in my life. In the days following that experience, I was blessed with many opportunities to notice the love of God. He gave me guidance and inspiration through conversations, scriptures, talks, and other resources He placed in my path. I felt His awareness and compassion for me and the challenges I face. As I reestablished a closeness with God, the spiritual storm inside of me calmed, and I found it easier to discern what was right and choose it.

This meaningful experience taught me three valuable lessons about prayer. The first is that we can share all of our feelings with Heavenly Father, even the negative ones. Our prayers do not have to be nice if that is not how we feel. He will hear us and love us even if we are frustrated with Him. He will not turn His back on us when our emotions are unpleasant. The second lesson I learned is that God is always available and ready to bless us. No matter how far we have separated ourselves from Him, we only have to decide to turn toward Him, and we will find that He is still there ready to reconnect with us. Finally, I learned that we must be patient when we are searching for spiritual guidance. Sometimes, He doesn’t answer our questions in the way we want or at the time we want, but while we’re waiting, we can ask to feel His love. We can ask Him to show us that He is with us. “As we trust that God hears our prayers, we learn to exercise patience. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf assured us that ‘the answers to our prayers come in the Lord’s due time. Sometimes we may become frustrated that the Lord has delayed answering our prayers. In such times we need to understand that He knows what we do not know. He sees what we do not see. Trust in Him. He knows what is best for His child, and being a perfect God, He will answer our prayers perfectly and in the perfect time.’” (p. 34, Healing Through Christ family workbook)

I’m grateful for the powerful blessing of prayer. I know we have a loving Father in Heaven who hears us when we speak to Him. As His children, we have a right to communicate with Him, and no one is unworthy of that access. We can be ourselves with Him. He loves us and waits for us to reach out to Him because He wants to bless us.

Thanks to Britney for submitting this post. If you would like to submit a post that reflects your hope, faith, and experience with the Steps, please send it to thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

What Do I Expect?

Expect good thingsThis week in Step Two we learned about hope and expectations. I’ve been intrigued for some time by the concept that people don’t break my heart, they break my expectations. Understanding that distinction has helped me recognize expectations that I may unconsciously impose on others. I’ve tried to become more aware of whether I am hurt because someone is unkind to me, or whether they just failed to respond to my internal, unspoken expectation. This concept has been very freeing for me, both in identifying my unspoken needs and being realistic about what I expect from others.

But this week, as we read about hope and expectations, I thought about it in a different way: which of my expectations are hurting me right now? I felt prompted to ask that question in my prayers, and I was shocked at the first thing that came into my mind. I expected (!) that I would think of something I was doing wrong, or perhaps that something I thought was not important was the exact thing Heavenly Father wanted me to be doing. I expected correction.

What I received was very different. The first thing that came into my mind was that I expected my family was angry at me about my shortcomings, and I was responding to them out of that expectation. I felt that I needed to let go of that expectation and accept their forgiveness and love. Other things came into my mind, and they all had to do with what I expected God or others thought about me. I realized I was being invited to let go of my expectations around others’ judgment of me, and as I thought about what that would feel like, I realized that those expectations really were hurting me and my relationships a great deal.

I’m eager to keep thinking and praying about this. I know I have expectations around what my husband wants or needs from me, my family, my friends, Heavenly Father. I have more questions for pondering and prayer, and I have a whole worldview to reexamine. But I think I will find a common theme of having more grace for myself, assuming more positive intent from others, and recognizing the difference between my expectations and the truth.

I love the section in Step Two of the Healing Through Christ Family Support workbook that talks about what I can expect:

When our expectations become firmly grounded in what God can and will do for us, our feelings of hope will increase and our spiritual and emotional health will be strengthened. A sure foundation on which to build our spiritual health is to expect that our prayers are heard by a loving Father in Heaven and that they will be answered. Expect that God will be with us to support, guide and sustain us. Expect that God’s plan will always result in our future happiness. …Our hope is based on an expectation that good things will come as we rely upon the guidance of our Father in Heaven.

These are all expectations that are grounded in truth: God hears me, He will help me, He plans for my happiness. I can depend on those expectations. And I can trust that identifying and praying about my other expectations will allow my Father to help me see things as they really are in my life and discard assumptions that are hurting me and my relationships.

I’ve been through Step Two many times. This week, as in so many other weeks, I was inspired to see something new, to ask new questions in my prayers and to discover a new way to strengthen my healing and recovery.

 

 

Join A Meeting

As people begin attending Healing Through Christ meetings, the most common reaction is “I wish I had known this years ago!” The principles and concepts which we discuss focus on increasing faith in Jesus Christ through a step-by-step process to feel the healing power of the Savior’s Atonement on a daily basis.

Jesus Christ Solution

Spiritual healing for individuals and relationships comes as a result of the following concepts, among others, that can be applied in many different situations:

  • Learning how to distinguish between negative thoughts and negative emotions and the appropriate way to respond to each
  • Respecting agency and honoring the process of personal growth
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Emotionally detaching from obsessing over others’ problems without detaching from the person
  • Understanding the emotional stages at work in our own and other’s lives
  • Recognizing in ourselves codependent rescuing, persecuting, and suffering behaviors
  • Trusting God to work in another’s life
  • Placing hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ
  • Learning how to believe in and experience the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • Clearing away clutter that interferes with our ability to hear and respond to the Spirit
  • Using tools such as a gratitude journal, fear list, and forgiveness practice to combine the power of emotional and spiritual healing

No problem-solving that happens in meetings; there are no discussions or cross-talk, so no one is giving advice to another person. These are not classes, and we do not teach a lesson or lead a discussion. All solutions come through the Spirit. In meetings we simply read the steps and the Spirit teaches and inspires the individual’s action to find solutions and healing through the Savior’s Atonement. We have a time to share our experience, faith, and hope, but we listen silently in appreciation and support as each of us shares or passes.

People come to meetings as a result of a wide variety of experiences. We often don’t know why a participant is there—the focus is on the solution, not the problem. But these are some challenges that have been helped by participating in Healing Through Christ meetings:

  • Strained relationship with a spouse
  • Need for new healthy ways of relating with adult children
  • Ability to preserve relationships in spite of concerns over wayward child such as
    • Children who leave the church
    • Children who develop drug or other addictions
    • Children who have come out as gay or lesbian
  • Life-threatening health crisis in children or grandchildren
  • Diagnosis of chronic health condition
  • Caring for children or adult family members with special needs
  • Caring for aging parents
  • Adult children who make poor financial, educational, or relationship decisions
  • Crisis of faith
  • Loved one’s addiction
  • Loss of a loved one to suicide
  • Ability to face relationship challenges without resorting to negative responses
  • Need to create internal boundaries that prevent rushing into rescue or fix children or teenagers
  • Increased ability to allow children to make decisions and learn from their own experience, rather than trying to manage their lives
  • Need to understand emotional stages of response to trauma, loss, change in circumstances, etc.
  • Strained relationships as a result of codependent behavior
  • Deep, hidden anger and learning how to heal through the 12 Steps and the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • Sexual tensions in a marriage— trying to set boundaries for what is acceptable behavior
  • Recovery from anger at family and church leaders after the overdose death of a spouse
  • Fear as a result of job loss or marital problems; learning tools to process fear and let go and turn everything over to God
  • Struggles with depression and feelings of isolation
  • Struggles with anxiety and fear
  • Aftermath of childhood physical and sexual abuse
  • Struggle to stay faithful to covenants as a member with same-sex attraction
  • Emotionally abusive marriage
  • Effects of attachment disorders from childhood
  • Sexual and other addictions; we have a number of participants who find HTC helpful and encouraging for coping with their own addictions, especially for dealing with the underlying emotions and triggers
  • Bitterness from a contentious divorce
  • Anger at church members or leaders that led to inactivity
  • Need to develop a deeper ability to forgive
  • Struggle to understand the nature of addiction and why loved ones turn to the addiction when they promise and intend to stop
  • Need for a place that is safe to process difficult memories and find hope for the future
  • Opportunity to see others who are in the process of using the Atonement to overcome a variety of challenges we don’t feel safe discussing at church

If this seems like a very broad array of problems, it is because Jesus Christ is the solution to most problems, and Healing Through Christ helps us come unto Him. Will you join us and decide if there is something to bless your life in these meetings? We have call-in meetings every day of the week; find more information at www.thearborkalamazoo.com or email thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com.

Waiting at the Crossroads of Life

“Experiencing one miscarriage after another felt like a series of stoplights in my life, but as I turned to the Lord, I found that each loss was accompanied by peace, perspective, and growth.

“My fingers clenched the steering wheel as I stared anxiously at the red light. When it finally changed to green, I sped forward only to wait at another seemingly endless stoplight. I was still 10 minutes away from the lesson with the sister missionaries that was supposed to have started 5 minutes ago. If I had been a wiser mother, I would have predicted the 15-minute tantrum my almost-three-year-old daughter erupted into as we headed out the door, but I hadn’t. Yes, the world would go on if I was late, but since I was trying to do something good, didn’t I deserve at least some of the traffic lights to work in my favor? As I waited impatiently at yet another stoplight, I could feel my frustration tightening into anger. “I’m trying to do something good; trying my best! Where is the help I need?”

“Twenty months earlier, I had found myself asking parallel questions in a parallel situation, only in a place with all the peace and serenity that my stoplight moment lacked.”

We’re grateful for the insights Marianne, one of our previous posters and Healing Through Christ friend, shares in her heartfelt story. Read the rest of this beautiful account at the website Church of Jesus Christ.org

 

Step Four Inventory

We are delighted to share a recording of the first hour from our Step Four Inventory Writing Retreat held on April 27, 2019. While some participants were able to call in and participant with the group remotely, we know that others who wanted to join us were not free at that time. We recorded the first part of our meeting and you can listen here

We still have some resources available on a Google Drive Folder. We collected a variety of ways of approaching a Step Four inventory, so you can look there and see what resonates for you today. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success, and may each of you find clarity and understanding as you build your inventory!

Rest From Our Struggles

In Step One of Healing Through Christ, we “come to understand and accept that we are powerless over the [behavior] of a loved one and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable.”

Coming to understand implies that there is a change in our interpretation of the situation.  We see it differently than we have before.  When we accept something, we admit that it is going to exist whether we want it to or not.  With this recognition, we also realize that there is no longer a need for resistance on our part.  If it’s going to happen anyway, is there really any reason to fight it?

 

Rest from struggles

So what exactly are we learning to understand and accept in this step?  It is our own powerlessness over others.  This is not an easy truth to understand or accept.  Our loved ones are important to us, and we naturally want to send them down the right path.  We would hate to see them make a mistake or experience pain.  We want to tell them everything we think they should do and know because we want them to succeed.  We worry about them, and we feel that it’s our obligation to do all we can to make sure they have the lives we want for them.  This is all very well-intended, but there’s a problem.

Our Heavenly Father sent us to this life as part of a wonderful plan, and the most important factor in that plan is our agency.  Each individual child of God has been given the gift to choose.  When we make our own choices, we learn.  Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail, but the lessons learned through this life’s experiences are critical for the growth we were sent here to achieve.  For many of us, it is easier to protect our own agency than to respect the agency of another, especially when that person is someone close and special to us.  However, when we interfere with our loved ones exercising their agency, our lives become unmanageable.

The inability to manage our own lives is result of pain, frustration, resentment, disappointment, grief, fear, worry, and other negative emotions that occur when someone else’s choices are different than what we think best.  Trying to manage another person leaves little energy for our own needs and usually doesn’t help them either.  Even if our help is sometimes desired by others, they might still miss valuable learning experiences if we’re not careful about how much we’re getting in the way of their ability to find solutions to their own problems.

Step One invites us to rest from the struggles we have faced as we’ve tried so desperately to take care of everyone else’s issues.  It reminds us that Heavenly Father is aware of His children, and He has a customized plan for each of us.  We can trust Him and allow Him to reach our loved ones in ways that we could never do on our own and sometimes in ways we would never even imagine possible.  He loves them more than we can understand, and He wants to bless them and touch their lives.  We can give all our concerns to Him.  We’re reminded in The Promise of Step One that “We feel relief and freedom as we embrace the spiritual truth that, on our own, we are powerless and we gratefully come to recognize and accept that we are not the saviors of our…loved ones or ourselves.  There is only one who can rescue and save any of us–our Savior, Jesus Christ. (p.13)”

 

[Thanks to Britney for submitting this post. If you would like to submit a post that reflects your hope, faith, and experience with the Steps, please send it to thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com]

Step Four Writing Retreat

Healing Through Christ Michigan is hosting a Writing Retreat on Saturday, April 27th, from 9 am to 4 pm. You are welcome to join us and work on your Step Four Inventory in companionship with other friends in recovery.

writingWe will have a pot luck lunch, and you are welcome to bring a dish to contribute. In addition, there will be some breaks for a nature walk and sharing our experience and insights, as desired. Because many of the participants in our meetings call in from all over the country, we will have a call-in option for the first 45 mins or so of the day. During that time we will be discussing the benefits of a Step Four inventory and various ways in which it can be done. You can join us by calling (781) 448-0376 at 9 am Eastern Daylight Time. After the end of the welcome and introduction, we will close the phone line and invite participants to start writing, wherever they may be.

We have some resources available that describe different ways of doing a Step Four inventory, from a spreadsheet and checkboxes, to a storytelling/journal style, to questions/prompts. We have these available for you as a Google Drive Doc. Please click on this link to access these: Step Four Writing Resources. We suggest you view these before the Retreat, decide if you would like to use any, and download or print them out in advance. Also, if you are intending to attend in person, please email us at megdecker@gmail.com to let us know you will be coming or ask questions.

 

Take a Step Today

Next week our Healing Through Christ Family Support meetings will begin again with the Introduction to Step One. This is a great time to join us, either in person or by phone. We have many phone meetings, and they have the advantage of providing access to people regardless of their location. Participants can join and listen only, or they can help with the reading and share. These meetings become powerful sources of support and love.

jesus-woman-taken-in-adultery-948852-mobile

While our workbook talks about having a loved one in addiction, in fact many of the people who come to our group meetings have other challenges that they are facing. The Steps help us to experience hope and healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, regardless of the specific circumstances of our lives. Our focus is on the solution, not the problem, so often we don’t know why people come to our groups, unless at some point they decide to share their struggle. We support each other in coming to Christ—it doesn’t matter where we are coming from.

Emotional and spiritual healing for self and relationships come as a result of these principles, among others, that we learn as we work the Steps:

  • Learning how to distinguish between negative thoughts and negative emotions and the appropriate way to respond to each
  • Respecting agency; honoring the process of personal growth
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Emotionally detaching from obsessing over others’ problems without detaching from the person
  • Understanding the emotional stages at work in our own and other’s lives
  • Recognizing in ourselves codependent rescuing, persecuting, and suffering behaviors
  • Trusting God to work in another’s life
  • Placing hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ
  • Learning how to believe in and experience the healing power of the Atonement of
  • Jesus Christ
  • Clearing away clutter that interferes with our ability to hear and respond to the Spirit
  • Using tools such as a gratitude journal, fear list, and forgiveness practice to combine the power of emotional and spiritual healing

No problem-solving that happens in meetings; we have no cross-talk, so no one is giving advice to another person. All solutions come through the Spirit. In meetings we simply read the Steps and the Spirit teaches and inspires the individual to find solutions, hope, and healing through the Savior’s Atonement.

We discover how to experience the grace of Jesus Christ as a healing and enabling power in our lives every day. We see others who are in the process of using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to overcome a variety of challenges we don’t feel safe discussing at church; witnessing that success gives us hope for ourselves. When we survey anonymous participants about the ways in which Healing Through Christ meetings helped them or others, they list these challenges that were helped through the meetings and working the Steps.

  • Strained relationship with a spouse
  • Healthy ways of relating with adult children
  • Ways to preserve relationships in spite of concerns over wayward child such as
    • Children who leave the church
    • Children who develop drug or other addictions
    • Children who have come out as gay or lesbian
  • Life-threatening health crisis in children or grandchildren
  • Diagnosis of chronic health condition
  • Caring for children or adult family members with special needs
  • Caring for aging parents
  • Adult children who make poor financial, educational, or relationship decisions
  • Crisis of faith
  • Loss of a loved one to suicide
  • Relationship challenges without resorting to negative responses
  • Creating internal boundaries that prevent rushing into rescue or fix children or teenagers
  • Trusting children to make decisions and learn from their own experience, rather than trying to manage their lives
  • Emotional stages of response to trauma, loss, change in circumstances, etc.
  • Strained relationships as a result of codependent behavior
  • Deep, hidden anger and learning how to heal through the 12 Steps and the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • Sexual tensions in a marriage— trying to set boundaries for what is acceptable behavior
  • Anger at family and church leaders after traumatic events
  • Fear as a result of job loss or marital problems; learning tools to process fear and let go and turn everything over to God
  • Struggles with depression and feelings of isolation
  • Struggles with anxiety and fear
  • Aftermath of childhood physical and sexual abuse
  • Struggle to stay faithful to covenants as a member with same-sex attraction
  • Emotionally abusive marriage
  • Effects of attachment disorders from childhood
  • Sexual and other addictions
  • Bitterness from a contentious divorce
  • Anger at church members or leaders that led to inactivity
  • Need to develop a deeper ability to forgive
  • Struggle to understand the nature of addiction and why loved ones turn to the addiction when they promise and intend to stop
  • Need for a place that is safe to process difficult memories and find hope for the future
  • Opportunity to see others who are in the process of using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to overcome a variety of challenges we don’t feel safe discussing at church

While every week is a great week to start coming to meetings, we will be starting from Step One over the next few weeks. Come join us by finding a meeting on our phone meeting page. You will feel love and acceptance and hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness Brings Peace and Joy

“Heber J. Grant was a junior member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He participated in a Church court in which a fellow member of the Quorum of the Twelve was excommunicated. In the ensuing years, this man came several times before the court to ask for rebaptism. His request was denied each time, but eventually every member of the Quorum of Twelve consented to rebaptism except Elder Grant. Elder Grant felt that because of the magnitude of the sin [adultery] and this man’s former position in the Church, he should never be forgiven. At this time Elder Grant was brought to truly understand Doctrine and Covenants 64:10. Following is Elder Grant’s own description of how this came about: “I was reading the Doctrine and Covenants through for the third or fourth time systematically, and I had my bookmark in it, but as I picked it up, instead of opening where the bookmark was, it opened to D&C 64:10: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” I closed the book and said: “If the devil applies for baptism, and claims that he has repented, I will baptize him.’

heber-j-grant-82943-mobile

“After lunch I returned to the office of President Taylor and said, ‘President Taylor, I have had a change of heart. One hour ago I said, never while I live did I expect to ever consent that Brother So and So should be baptized, but I have come to tell you he can be baptized, so far as I am concerned.’ President Taylor had a habit, when he was particularly pleased, of sitting up and laughing and shaking his whole body, and he laughed and said, ‘My boy, the change is very sudden, very sudden. I want to ask you a question. How did you feel when you left here an hour ago? Did you feel like you wanted to hit that man squarely between the eyes and knock him down?’

“I said, ‘That is just the way I felt.’ He said, ‘How do you feel now?’ ‘Well, to tell you the truth, President Taylor, I hope the Lord will forgive the sinner.’ He said, ‘You feel happy, don’t you, in comparison? You had the spirit of anger, you had the spirit of bitterness in your heart toward that man, because of his sin and because of the disgrace he had brought upon the Church. And now you have the spirit of forgiveness and you really feel happy, don’t you?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do . . . now I feel happy’”

President Taylor explained to Elder Grant: “Forgiveness is in advance of justice, where there is repentance, and that to have in your heart the spirit of forgiveness and to eliminate from your hearts the spirit of hatred and bitterness, brings peace and joy; that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings joy, peace and happiness to every soul that lives it and follows its teachings.”   (Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, October 1920, 2–11)