For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:5-8
|Hold to the rod!|
At zone conference, we were privileged to hear more of Sister Bullock's wonderful allegories. Below you may read these in condensed form.
Gymnast Chalk and the Iron Rod
The Bullocks visited the Grand Canyon with their three young children a long time ago. She remembers how tightly they held on to the children as they walked on the narrow trails. When they stood at an overlook point, there was no rail for safety. They were frightened for the children there who were being allowed to wander around without having a firm grip on a parent's hand. Her thoughts drifted to Lehi and the iron rod that he had seen in a vision (1 Nephi 8). Nephi, Lehi's son, wanted to know what the the things in the vision represented, so he acted upon that desire to know and was given the interpretation (Nephi 11). The iron rod leads to the Tree of Life, which is exaltation, meaning living with God in his kingdom of glory (Celestial Kingdom). Just as railings on stairs or rails near cliff edges protect us from falling, the word of God can keep us safe on our journey in life.
We may ask ourselves, "Why do I want to reach the tree of life?" We need to understand why this is important so we can have our sights on the most important goal we can achieve. We need to gain the desire and work towards it. Much effort is needed to gain this knowledge and to seek the goal.
After baptism, our test in life begins. Will we listen to the scoffing and mocking and let go of the iron rod, or will we hold tight?
In her college years, Sister Bullock was on the university's gymnastics team. She explained how important it was to put chalk on her hands to be able to keep a firm grip on the bars. If she put on the least bit of lotion, it would loosen her grip. Even a tiny drop of lotion could lead to an ultimate loss of grip. She suggested that there are four "chalks" we can use to help us hold on to the word of God and follow him.
Chalk 1- Faith. This is the first chalk we put on our hands. Faith requires that we put forth effort to follow Jesus Christ. As we keep the commandments, read the scriptures, go to church, serve, pray, and do all we can to continually strengthen our faith, we will be able to hold on to it through any trial.
Sister Bullock told about a mother duck and nine little ducklings she observed one day. The ducklings were following their mother who came to a large log. Instead of going around it, she went over the log. Even though it was more difficult, the ducklings followed her. She said we must have enough faith to follow our Savior, even through the difficult challenges in life.
Chalk 2 - Repentance. Each time we sincerely repent, our grip tightens. We are more able to keep the commandments as we strive to keep ourselves clean and pure.
Chalk 3 - The Gift of the Holy Ghost. At Tippanogas Cave in Utah, the lights are turned out once people are in the cave. It is so dark, no one could ever find their way out of the cave safely. Light is absolutely necessary to safely walk through the cave and emerge in safety.
In the world, we can find ourselves in a mist of darkness, but we do not have to stay in it. We can live worthy to have the Holy Ghost in our lives to help us out. It will guide us, give us power to follow a righteous path, and we will have peace in living faithfully.
Chalk 4 - Read the Book of Mormon all of your life. Everyone needs to know and understand it. Sister Bullock tells of a young man being pressured by his friends to do things he shouldn't. He wondered where he could find the strength to resist the temptation. He wrestled with this concern. One night he had a dream where he was on his stomach on the floor in seminary class. He was being dragged into destruction by some unseen force. He needed something to hold on to. As he struggled to keep from being pulled away, he saw a Book of Mormon on a desk. He knew if he could get to it and reach up to hold on to it, he could be saved. He woke up knowing the importance of the scriptures. He then wanted desperately to read the Book of Mormon!
Sister Bullock then cautioned us to avoid all things that will add "lotion" to our hands--anything that will cause us to loosen our grip on the iron rod. She reminded us that even one drop will affect our ability to hold on. We must nurture a pure desire to reach the tree of life.
When Enos remembered the things his father taught him about repentance and the power of God, he asked, "How is done?" (that God can forgive and bless). The answer he received from God is all things are possible through faith in Jesus Christ.
O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever. Jacob 3:2
Fractals in Ferns and Following Righteous Patterns
Sister Bullock held up a fern frond and broke off a small piece. She explained that the tiny piece repeated the same pattern as the larger fern. The fern frond is a fractal, like many other things in nature and it is a phenomenon in self-similarity. Each piece resembles all or part of the original fractal (as seen in familiar fractals such as snowflakes and tree bark). Science and mathematics have fractal foundations in many areas, as does art. Fractals are true patterns created by the greatest scientist, mathematician, and artist of all, our Heavenly Father.
How many fractals can you find? Gods creations are SO amazing!