Nigel: If we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel: Eleven. Exactly.
I can't believe it. I've really just started a blog post with a quote from Spinal Tap. I strive to be authentic, so when that's what kept coming to mind, I decided to just go with it.
Something I've been pondering in depth is how the changes President Nelson has made would be studied, analyzed, discussed, cross-referenced if we received them as the scripture they are.
So, for example, when Lehi compared Laman and Lemuel to the valley and the river, it was written down, handed down, and preserved by the hand of God to come forth in this dispensation - and the symbols of valley and river when compared with the traits of Laman and Lemuel have been analyzed, compared, contrasted, etc, in context to the facts of the family's wilderness journey, their language structure, their geographical reference points, etc since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. So I've been thinking how we need to take that same approach to the prophetic actions, words, counsel, as well as general conference addresses of our living prophet! So I've been analyzing the context, the symbolism, the timing... comparing, contrasting, looking for layers of meaning, meditating upon and contemplating in holy places what President Nelson has been saying and doing since he became the Lord's mouthpiece. I have plans for several more posts on other subjects, but since this is at the forefront of my mind, I'll start here.
So let's consider changes to the timing youth would progress from primary. Beyond the facts... what was the purpose or meaning in it?
Given what I know about my (now 12-year-old daughter) Chloe and many of her peers, I have to concur with the following statements made about this particular group of God's children:
Our youth and children are among the best the Lord has ever sent into this world. They have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation! We must do our part to help them realize their potential. -Russell M. Nelson
The Savior is directing His Church. He knew this change was coming, and He inspired it for this group of 11-year-olds, who are ready for new assignments and for increased opportunities to serve. He knows the capabilities of His sons and daughters. -Bonnie Oscarson
The most obvious and logical reason for the change appears to be unity:
Youth are part of a battalion, as President Nelson taught; no one needs to feel alone. We are together. -Stephen W. Owen
I'd like to expound these beautiful truths as it feels to me there are messages and meaning to uncover as President Nelson helps prepare those who will prepare the world for the glorious return of Jesus Christ.
Much to my amazement, an insight was given to me by way of a movie quote. I was in a state of sincere, prayerful pondering regarding this subject when a thought pierced my heart:
Ricky Bobby: You can't have two number ones. Cal Naughton Jr.: Yeah, 'cause that would be eleven.
Yep, I started with the least shocking movie reference, and now I've gone ahead and quoted Talladega Nights. No one could be more shocked than me. I couldn't even remember which movie this was from when it was put in my mind, only that Will Ferrell was involved in some way. And yet, it felt to be clear and distinct revelation as I pondered the number eleven and the potential symbolism. And this was what I got? I couldn't deny the way the thought distilled upon me so I didn't dismiss it. I stayed with it and I'm glad I did.
Two ones coming together. Does that sound like anything to you?
As brothers and sisters on both sides of the veil come unto Jesus Christ...
as Zion from above and Zion from below are brought together...
in a symbolic sense the equation actually does look like this:
1+1 = 11
As our youth step forward more promptly
to attend the temple and participate in saving ordinances,
their hearts are turned to the fathers.
Our youth become saviors on Mount Zion!
Isn't that amazing? Isn't it beautiful?
To our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil
waiting to enter the covenant path,
it is most assuredly amazing and beautiful.
Can you imagine, the Savior, turning the attention of ancestors to their descendants, these uniquely appointed youth, and declaring,
The number that precedes how many tribes are to be gathered: 11
My friends, I hope my use of movie quotes was not distracting from the message(s) I wish to convey. I actually love that Heavenly Father used movie quotes when I was seeking His counsel and enlightenment on a particular subject. He comes to us where we are and communicates in ways we will understand. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. How else could I have thought that 11 could be two ones? That's not how my brain thinks of 11. So may I bear to you my witness that when our hearts are inclined to Him, when we are open and teachable, He will find a way for us to receive the messages He would have us receive.
May I also bear witness that as we strive to follow the counsel of our prophet, as we notice patterns and themes repeated by him and the apostles, as we pray, study, ponder, and try to find the truth shining brightly before us, we will be guided by heaven to know what we need to do. And what we need to be doing is helping to gather Israel. That will look different for you than it looks for me. But we can still be doing our parts with one heart and one mind, with unity of feeling, with a desire to fulfill our sacred responsibility to help gather all things in one. Truly, nothing is more important. Nothing is more rewarding. Nothing can bring more power or peace or joy.
I pray nothing will distract or prevent you from fulfilling your part in helping Heavenly Father bring to pass His work and His glory.
Lean in. Notice. Be still. There are messages to be received from the scriptures, from the living prophet, and from the Lord. Don't get inundated with information. Don't get distracted by data. Look for the lessons.
The Lord didn't just instigate a procedural change. It's my testimony that through his living prophet, He is inviting us to rise up, to wake up to our call, to become one with men and angels, to become one with Him! He is inviting us closer to Him, to be clothed with His light so we can endure His presence when He returns in glory.
May we be ONE.