My earliest memories of reading The Book of Mormon with my parents and siblings all center around Nephi and his courage to do what was right and his faith that God would come through even when stepping into unknown territory. Nephi tells his father,
7: "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
I wanted to be like that, for my younger brothers and sisters, for my friends, and later for my husband and children.
I remember a Sunday school lesson about a child who was bringing a lunch to their father. The father was working down in a deep well. When the child arrived, they asked if they could come down there in the hole and see what it was that dad had been up to all day. The father gave his consent and then told the child to jump into his awaiting arms. The father could clearly see the child, but the child could only see shadows. Then after some reassuring words, the child made the 'leap of faith' and the father caught them safely in his strong arms.
I think about the times that our family has had to take one step into the dark. Like when we moved to the East Coast. We were just about to sign papers on a house near our street in Portland, Oregon when our landlord asked if we were interested in buying the rental home we were in. We said we'd like to sleep on it. The next day, out of the blue, my husband, Patrick, was laid off. As a manager at the company, he had been told that after the holiday break they should prepare their staff for some lay offs. The way he figures it, he prepared them, by being the first one out onto the plank and setting the example.
We went to the temple the next day to pray about what we should do. Afterwards, we talked about where it was we'd be willing to go and if there were any strong feelings or impressions about where. Both of us simultaneously mentioned Boston. Neither of us had lived there, but Patrick's parents were last stationed by the military in nearby Rhode Island. So, we went again to the temple, this time with the express purpose of getting an answer about the Boston area.
If you're not familiar with temples in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we go the first time in life to participate in a special ceremony for ourselves; after that, we return to perform the same ceremony on behalf of those in our family tree. We believe that in the life beyond, those who did not have an opportunity to perform these ordinances for themselves can then choose whether or not to accept this work, as we perform the sacred acts and make promises our thoughts are on the Savior, Jesus Christ, and on our covenants that we have made. At the end of this 'work' we may take time to reflect on current needs of others and ourselves while in the unhurried and peaceful atmosphere of the temple and it's grounds.
We both left the temple feeling as though we were already in the Boston temple, although there wasn't one in New England at the time. Within two weeks we had hosted good-bye parties for the kids, packed the house and arranged for transportation for ourselves and our things and were headed into the greater Boston area. Pat had spent every spare moment hunting remotely for work, yet there was no word from anyone. We left, leaping into the dark and hoping that He would catch us.
Our travel arrangements took only one day, but by the time we arrived, there was a job interview scheduled the first morning we would be there. Our timetable was so tight, that Pat had to drop us off at a hotel in the middle of 'no-where' and head straight there. He got the job, we found a house, two years later we attended the Boston Temple dedication with new found friends we had helped teach the gospel to, and we found reassurance that if -
we go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded . . . that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.