Sunday, September 11, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Fear or Faith?

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My kids and I just watched this amazing documentary on Netflix called "Emperor's Ghost Army". This PBS show was very eye opening in more than one way. It is the story of the Terracotta soldiers found in one of the most ancient burial spots in China that covers many, many square miles. Over 8,000 clay soldiers have been exhumed and pieced together. This army is equipped with everything a real army would be armed with from 2200 years ago swords, chariots, and horses. The technology and workmanship that these people displayed is utterly mind-blowing. The main body was made in a very similar manner that Native Americans, Africans, Australian Aboriginal people and many others across the globe made clay pottery. They had huge kilns to fit several of the 400 pound clay figures to bake for days.  Total numbers for artisans and workers totals around 700,000 . The legs and arms were made in a mold, and the heads first molded and then carved by hand and no two faces are exactly alike. There is even speculation that these soldiers were copied after actual people. 

Why would someone go to such lengths to create something of this magnitude? What was the purpose? According to this documentary, Qin Emperor was a cruel ruler. The historical documents found said that life for the people in this part of China was very hard. Imagine the most strict Communistic life and multiply it times 10. Torture, prison, and even death was used to keep everyone in line. War after war to conquer Chinese lands made it virtually impossible to live a normal life. When Qin Emperor died, he was buried in the mount near to where these soldiers were discovered. The reason the Emperor was so afraid of what people would do to him after he died, he wanted an army to protect him. He knew the way he ruled would likely come around and bite him in the hind end. The Emperor's actual burial site has yet to be excavated. You can bet there are so many hoops that archaeologists are going to have to jump through before they open excavation because he has such a high profile (kinda beside the point...but you know)...

What does this have to do with the price of strawberry crepes in France? 

The point I would like to make is that sometimes we make decisions based on fear. We can waste precious resources. We can waste precious time. Even if we aren't the ones that made a bad decision, other people's bad choices can affect our lives in a negative way. How can we make decisions based on faith instead? 

Here are a few ideas:

#1 "They Hushed Their Own Fears"  In a post  last year I reviewed how we can "hush our own fears" with advice given by Elder David A. Bednar. He gives GREAT advice.

#2 " Be of Good Cheer"  In 2007 Elder Quinten L. Cook gave a conference talk entitled "Live by Faith Not Fear" He shares this scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 68: 5-6: 

“Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
“Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” 
I love watching videos on Facebook that highlight something good someone has done. When I see others doing good, it influences me to want to do good. When we focus on good, it lifts us and then we in turn can lift others. 
#3 " Do Not Fear" President Boyd K. Packer delivered a talk called, "Do Not Fear"He says that if we are constantly looking to keep the Holy Ghost with us, fear fades. Pure love casteth out all fear. In order to do that, we must keep the commandments. We must hold strong to the values that are being tossed aside so easily today. It is an excellent talk. I strongly encourage you to read/ listen to/ watch it. 
#4 One of my favorite quotes of all time is given by President Monson. He repeated it more than once during General Conference. It goes like this: 
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.
We already know the things we need to be preparing. Make sure that your money, time and energy are being put toward things we have already been told to prepare. The basics. Food, water, fuel, alternative cooking, medicines, and other necessities (deodorant for sure). Follow the Spirit and then you'll be coming from a place of faith. Its better up there. 
So, what if the conclusion that the documentary makes is wrong. What if the Emperor was just a little (ok, alot) eccentric and it wasn't because he thought this army would protect his resting place? These soldiers were facing east which was the direction of his kingdom. East is significant in the scriptures. It is the symbolic direction in the scriptures where God resides. Kind of a cool thought. Who knows for sure? What I do know, that in a coming day the King of Kings will rule and it will be a much better place to live. That's the future I want to focus on.   

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