Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fire of the Covenant

I just finished the historical fiction Fire of the Covenant and it was wonderful to read. This novel is based upon the Mormon handcart pioneers. This novel focuses upon the Willie and Martin handcart companies, two companies that are remembered in our church for their late start on the trail and consequent hardships that came because of it. The prophet Brigham Young had called all able European Saints to gather to Zion aka Salt Lake City. Their experiences were in many ways horrifying and extremely sad, but they all gained a sure knowledge of their Father as they had to turn to Him in their trials. This novel had many things I would love to share, but two in particular stood out to me.

"But remember, we are leaving our homes in obedience to the covenants we have made with the Lord. We leave our former lives behind in order to serve the purposes of God. We go forth now to build a heritage and legacy for our children and our grandchildren. Let us go forward with joy, brothers and sisters. We have begun the journey. May we carry on with faith until we bring it to a successful close."

I read this and had to stop and reflect upon it. It hit me hard as a convert. I struggle sometimes with the fact that I don't have parents to look to for answers to gospel questions or comfort in making difficult decisions. If I am struggling, I cannot go to them for gospel support. They do their best but often I must study their advice and see whether it fits with gospel truth. Mostly it doesn't, which can be hard. But I love this quotation because it reminds me to focus upon my future. Upon my children and grandchildren. I can act as that gospel support to them and give them a life that I can only pray for. I need to find joy now in this fact.

Another quotation/conversation jumped out at me, mostly because it is where the novel gets its title.

"'Let the fire of the covenant, which you made in the house of the Lord, burn in your hearts like a flame unquenchable!' (Brigham Young)
'What gave you the power to change your heart was the covenant that burned within you...sometimes the fire is a burden, and you would give almost anything to be rid of it.' 'Anything except turning your back on it.'"

I loved this part! It spoke so directly to me that again I had to ponder and reflect upon it. The fire of the covenant is often our motivator to choose the right, to press forward even though it may be dismal, it is what makes our religion unique in many ways. When we are baptized and take upon us the name of Christ, something within us changes. As we learn and grow in the gospel, this fire is fed. We make important decisions with this fire, decisions that will change our lives forever. Often to the outside world these decisions may seem crazy, but to us they are necessary because of the fire of the covenant. It takes us from being unsure to knowing without a doubt.

Sometimes it can be a burden though. To know good vs. bad, right vs. wrong can be hard for us. We wish we were innocent in knowing, we wish we could just try it once, we wish, we wish, we wish. But in the end we know better. In the end we would never give up the fire that burns within us. Why?

Because the fire of the covenant is such a powerful, firm resource of truth. Once you experience it, you would be scared without it, because without it means turning your back on Heavenly Father and His Son. It would be rendering all the knowledge they have given you, all the deeds they have done for you, especially the Atonement, mute.

That would be a scary feeling. To no longer feel the guidance, comfort, and love that comes from the fire of the covenant.

Being a convert in this church is hard. In fact, sometimes I think if I would have known it would have been this painful I probably would not have embarked on this journey. Thank goodness that isn't a missionary lesson though. Because although its painful, its a good hurt. The kind of hurt that leads you to important truths in your life. That lets you know without a doubt your Father in Heaven and your Savior. To know of their love for you.

The fire of the covenant is an empowering and amazing gift.

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