Return to Search

Michelle Fuluvaka

Michelle Fuluvaka

Software Analyst

Devotional
April 12, 2016
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Aloha!BYUHawaii has been a big part of my life. I first came here in 1983 thinking I would stay for a semester and 32 years later look where I have ended up. My husband Sisi lived in Laie while I was going to school and I was lucky enough to cast my line far into the water and snag this prize fish. We left Hawaii in 1987 to see what adventures a military life would offer us. It was just the two of us along with our Toyota truck and not even enough household goods to fill the back of that truck. When we returned to Hawaii in 2001 we had three boys and a whole moving van full of stuff. While living away we would return as often as we could to visit family and enjoy the yummy food, beaches and good weather. It was those times that we could return to Hawaii that would recharge our emotional batteries to tide us over until the next time we could come back. I would like to talk today about returning and in doing so I hope to encourage all to return to search the words that have been provided as a means to strengthen and recharge our spiritual batteries for our mortal journey.I work in the EIS department where we use databases that hold important information for the university and those associated with it. This information deals with academics, finances and human resources. The databases are very critical as they insure that correct information is provided to those that need it. Throughout the course of my day I often go to this database to look up information that will answer questions that are asked of me and to troubleshoot problems that arise. I have two buttons that help me in this task. They are Search and Return to Search. Search gets me started with the information I need for my initial tasks and Return to Search helps me to retrieve additional information that will provide answers to other questions. This is similar to how we need to return to search the gospel database to make sure we have the correct information and to increase our gospel knowledge. This knowledge will provide the information we need to find truth and happiness in this life and the life to come. Some of those gospel databases we need to include in our search are the scriptures and our prophets and leaders.I have a tendency to want the answers now and not have to spend a lot of time searching. None of you are like that, are you? Well in my desire to have an instant answer I was at the temple the other week pondering on what scripture I could share with you that would fit well with my talk. As a sat there pondering all of a sudden I thought of Mosiah.ok, Mosiah what chapter? Mosiah 6 and the verse? Mosiah 6:10. I couldnt wait to get to the celestial room where I knew there would be scriptures so that I could look it up and see what great counsel awaited. I came into the celestial room and went right past my husband to pick up the scriptures. I sat down and quickly turned the pages to Mosiahok found itMosiah 6Im almost therewhat? Mosiah 6 only has 7 verses. I was disappointed but had to laugh at myself because I thought that I had received an earth shattering revelation. So it wasnt my scripturein fact it isnt anyones scripture because it doesnt exist but I eventually received my answer as I returned to search for it in the days to come. I think I was being humbled when I was hoping for instant inspiration as Elder Bednar describes as a light being turned on in a dark room but instead I received the answer more like the sun rising where light is gradually increased.[1]So remember answers will come just have faith and be believing just as the scripture I found says in D&C 90:24Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good[2]We need to return to search the basics of the gospel. When we have questions we know the source for which we should be finding the answers the scriptures. By studying and pondering the scriptures daily we receive the Lords instructions for us. We all know that reading the scriptures can be a struggle. How many of you have tried to start reading the Book of Mormon and havent been able to get past 1st or 2nd Nephi? Yeah, that was me so many times until I came up with a plan. One day I decided to skip 1st and 2nd Nephi and start with Jacob. Sometimes I have to play tricks on my mind and it worked because I felt I was getting somewhere when I quickly completed 5 books (Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, and Words of Mormon). Of course, all but one of those books has only one chapter but I nonetheless had finished 5 books. By that time I felt the desire to feast upon the words and I wanted to keep reading. Alma didnt even seem that long anymore as I became immersed in the scriptures. Once I finished Moroni I started at the Title Page and read right through 1st and 2nd Nephi as I continued reading through the Book of Mormon once again. By reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, I have been able to recognize how these ancient records apply to our times. It has helped me be more aware of how Satan tries to deceive us and try to destroy us. It has also helped me see how much Heavenly Father and Jesus love us and how patient they are with us. Reading the scriptures gives us confidence in what we have been taught and gives us the ability to defend what we know. J. Richard Clarke as a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric related in an October 1982 conference talk that he grew up in a Mormon town within a Latter-day Saint home. He was taught the principle of prayer and taught to love the Lord. He learned that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith which he never doubted even as an adult. As a young adult he enlisted in the navy and was surprised to know of so many people who hadnt heard of Mormonism. He said it was then that he realized how limited his knowledge of the gospel was. He was asked tough questions which he had a hard time answering. He was the only member in his group so he didnt have anyone to ask for help. The only scriptures he had with him was a small military copy of the Book of Mormon. He related that growing up he didnt feel a need to study the scriptures and the writings of the prophets. When he tried to answer questions he was only able to state the beliefs he had heard from his family and teachers, he didnt have his own witness. He tried to compensate for his lack of knowledge by being a good example of what he said he believed.[3]I can relate to Bishop Clarke to a certain point. I didnt grow up in a Mormon community in fact including me there were only three to four young women in my ward and we all went to different schools until high school. My family converted to the Church when I was young and my parents taught me the principles of the gospel along with other wonderful leaders and teachers. But just like Bishop Clarke I had not made it a priority to study the scriptures beyond what was taught in lessons and seminary. Thank goodness I went to church and seminary to give me enough knowledge to keep me grounded in the gospel. I was always fearful of someone asking me tough questions since I also relied on my families and teachers beliefs. I too would try to be a good example of what the gospel teaches but didnt have the deep roots the scriptures could provide. I have found so much more knowledge and understanding by reading and studying the scriptures. I feel more firmly planted and feel like I cant be swayed in my beliefs because I now know for myself. I am far from being a scripture mastery champion but I know that I can find answers. Bishop Clarke also quoted The Prophet Joseph Smith who said,Search the scripturessearch the revelations which we publish and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. For when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. Again we say: Search the Scriptures, search the Prophets and learn what portion of them belongs to you.[4]We also need to listen to and ponder the words which are shared by our prophets and leaders of the Church. We just had the opportunity to participate in General Conference. Did we make the sacrifice of our time to listen and receive the counsel given on how to draw closer to our Savior? Did we pray for answers to our questions as we listened to wise counsel? Well if you didnt thank goodness for the wise use of technology. Go to lds.org and read or watch the conference talks with a humble heart ready to be taught. Listen and you will find answers, I promise. Not everything you hear may be pleasing because it might require us to make changes but it will make us happy if we follow the counsel.We need to put our trust in the Lord and in His words, as He is the one that has our best interest in mind. There are many loud voices that compete for our time, attention and loyalty so we have to listen carefully for the Lords voice as His voice is very quiet. We must be very careful that we dont start listening to other voices that could lead us astray and make us believe things that are not true. Elder Hales in addressing the young adults in the Oct 2015 General Conference stated,Now, you may have serious questions about the choices ahead. In my young adult years, I sought counsel from my parents and from faithful, trusted advisers. One was a priesthood leader; another was a teacher who believed in me. Both said to me, If you want my counsel, be prepared to take it. I understood what that meant. Prayerfully select mentors who have your spiritual well-being at heart. Be careful about taking advice from your peers. If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across![5]I love how he says if you want more than you now have, reach up as to a higher level, someone that will pull you up, not across to the same level that will keep you where you are. We have told our boys from a young age that if they had questions they should come ask us and we will give them counsel. Experience, knowledge, maturity, guidance of the spirit and love are what helps parents and other inspired mentors give good counsel. As a strong word of caution be very careful of what you read on social media, in comment sections, and on the Internet as these are often one sided and most authors often hide their identity to stir up contention and doubt. Why would you choose to follow someone you dont know? I want to take you back to about 73 BC. Moroni had just successfully lead the Nephites in defeating the Lamanites. In Alma 45:1 it talks of how the people were grateful for their success and they thanked the Lord and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy. Their success was because of their righteous desire to defend their homes, liberties, families, and religion. It didnt take long for things to change because by the end of the chapter pride had made its way into their hearts and Amalickiah who wanted to destroy the Church and take away the peoples freedom was able to flatter many to follow him. This shows that we must always be aware of Satans desire to lead us astray and he will use those that are very convincing to misguide us. In Alma 46:10 it reads,Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous sake.[6]How many times do people use words to provoke us to feel we have been wronged or to create angry feelings? That is what Amalickiah was doing and he did it very well. When Amalickiah was chased off by Moroni he didnt back down but went to the Lamanites to stir them up to go to battle against the Nephites. When the Lamanites hesitated because they had just gotten a big whooping from the Nephites he devised a plan to become king over the Lamanites by deceit and fraud. When they continued to hesitate he sent men to speak from their towers to talk smack about the Nephites. Well it worked because the Lamanites believed what was said from these towers and they hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites as stated in Alma 48:3.[7] Could one of the modern day towers that are used to stir people up today be Facebook (or insert any other social media you are familiar with here)? We dont have the high physical towers made of wood they had back then but there are many sitting on their cyber towers that will share falsehoods and accusations that will try to confuse us.Good thing for prophets and leaders that are guided by the Spirit and work tirelessly to keep us on track. Moroni didnt give up on the people as witnessed by him writing the title of liberty, praying for the people and holding the standard up so they could see it and remember what was important. He had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God. as stated in Alma 48:7.[8] Moroni was a righteous leader who loved God and feared Him more than man. He was a good man, not a perfect man but one that sought for perfection. Who wouldnt want to follow such a man? In these latter days I want to ask you, who is your Moroni? Who do you look to for direction and answers? Who can you trust that doesnt have his own interest in mind but is only trying to serve the Lord to the best of his ability just like Moroni? Just like Moroni we have our Latter-Day Prophet Pres. Thomas S. Monson who is watching over us, encouraging us and leading us.In the Childrens Songbook there is a catchy song that I think you all know. I want to share the last verse which applies to our day.Now we have a world where people are confused.If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.We can get direction all along our way,If we heed the prophets-follow what they say.Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,Follow the prophet; don't go astray.Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,Follow the prophet; he knows the way.(Follow the Prophet, LDS Childrens Songbook)[9]I know that Pres. Monson is a prophet of God and I know that we can trust the words he speaks and the counsel he gives. I also know that we can be led by the spirit to know what others say are true or false. As it states in D&C 50:24-25:24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.25 And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;[10]As we search diligently we will stay rooted in the gospel, as were the sons of Mosiah when Alma saw them after an extended absence."Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God."(Alma 17:2)[11]I have felt this joy as I have been reunited with friends that I havent seen in a long time and they are active in fulfilling church callings and have continued on the path of righteousness. I have also come across friends who I love very much that have searched the worldly views and have found answers elsewhere besides the solid truth of the gospel. For this I am very sad because they have let the voices of others convince them to turn away from the Gospel. Dont be deceived, learn the doctrine for yourselves.Searching alone is not enough. We also need to pray in order to receive a personal witness of what is truth. By praying we keep the lines of communication open to our Heavenly Father as the sons of Mosiah had been doing as stated in verse 3."But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God." (Alma 17:3)[12]The young boy Joseph Smith who had been returning to the scriptures often to find answers found a life changing scripture that lead to the restoration of the gospel on the earth.If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. (James 1:56)[13]If Joseph had only searched the scriptures and hadnt asked through prayer having faith that his prayer would be answered we would all still be wondering which church to join. But Joseph did receive an answer in a big way. We dont usually receive answers the way he did but I know personally prayers are answered and truth is confirmed if we ask in faith.I kind of think of prayer as the cream of the gospel but since I am working on my wellness challenge and I am trying to make healthy choices I am going to compare it to non-fat milk for this story. For those that are lactose intolerant you can substitute soy or almond milk for your own analogy. I came back from the gym one morning ready to make and eat my oatmeal. I was looking forward to eating this as I hungry from my workout and I had cut up bananas and walnuts to put on top. In trying to hurry to get ready for work I grabbed it and started walking upstairs to finish getting ready. As I took a bite I thought, something is missing. I took another bite and thought this is bland. It was then that I discovered in my hurry I had completely forgotten the milk. I was surprised at what a difference it made. Now you can substitute any cereal you normally eat like Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch but you can understand that you need milk with your cereal. Or maybe you might like to compare it to eating an Oreo and not having milk to dunk it in. So I say to you Dont forget the milk meaning dont forget to pray. The gospel is so much more flavorful and delightful with your spiritual milk or prayer each day.As in any software the programmer writes and designs the program to make life easier and helpful for us. As we compare this to our life we also have a programmer, it is Jesus Christ. He wrote a program to make life easier and help us return and be with Him again. One thing we are told about browser applications is dont click on pop ups unless you know it is a reliable source but click on the X to dismiss it. I know of two things that can happen by clicking on a pop up. It can take you to a totally different site that is inappropriate or it can infect your computer with viruses. Lets compare that to us and our lives. What are some of the pop ups in our lives? What viruses are making us sick? Could it be anger, hatred, inappropriate conduct and dishonesty? I could continue naming more but only you know the pop ups in your life. The programmer, Jesus Christ, wrote a program for us and it doesnt include these pop ups but they will occur often in life so he has reminded us to X out of them. These pop ups happen sometimes when we search in the wrong place so we need to make sure the place we search is the right place. Are we searching in the right place? We need to make sure we are searching in the right place.One of the parables that we can learn from is the parable of the prodigal son. Perhaps he was at home in the right place searching for ways to better his life. Perhaps he decided to take his inheritance and leave because he clicked on the pop up failing to heed the council of our Programmer to X out to stay safe and be protected. The pop up showed him a place that looked better than home and that was more appealing than the program that would help him to draw closer to our Father in Heaven. That pop up was a link placed by Satan enticing him with the things of the world making him think it was better on the other side. We can learn from him. As he got to the other side he came to realize that his new surroundings was not what he was looking for. So what did he do? He returned to the homepage where he began a new search in life. Often times we find ourselves in the wrong place and we fail to humble ourselves enough to return home. It might be to our earthly parents, it may be to our bishop or to our programmer, Jesus Christ. Please let us remember not to continue our life clicking on the pop-ups. Always remember to return to search. One of the greatest things of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that repentance is made available to all of us at any time. When you have a problem with a program you have an 800 number you can call 24 hours 7 days a week to get help. Sometimes you have a hard time understanding them because they may be from a foreign country but there is help. Our Saviors call center is close by and always open. He is waiting for us to call and we can hear and understand Him because he speaks very clearly. Let us improve our lives. Remember to X out the pop ups.Please lets return to search for answers and for truth. Lets not be deceived but grow strong in our testimonies of the gospel. We all want to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father so let us also return to humbleness to allow us to be taught truth, return to our church meetings if we have been missing in action, return to our patriarchal blessings to seek guidance and return to repentance to be worthy of His guidance. Be believing and have faith as you trust that you will receive an abundance of knowledge and blessings as you do so.In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[1]David A. Bednar, The Spirit of Revelation, April 2011 General Conference[2]D&C 90:24[3]J. Richard Clarke, My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures, Oct 1982 General Conference[4]Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, pp. 1112.[5]Oct 2015 General Conference, Meeting the Challenges of Todays World[6]Alma 46:10[7]Alma 48:3[8]Alma 48:7[9]Follow the Prophet, LDS Childrens Songbook[10]D&C 50: 24-25[11]Alma 17:2[12]Alma 17:3[13]James 1:56