First, I want to thank everyone who came and supported me this weekend! You all mean so much to me!
Ps, Shleb is so awesome! And adorable :) She had the idea to post my farewell talk on here.... Alright. Here it is :)
My Farewell Talk – Strengthening
our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ – 5.26.13
In conference, Elder Uchtdorf once spoke about a legendary
football coach, Vince Lombardi, who was known for a ritual that he would
perform with his team on the first day of every season. He would hold up a
football and say “Gentlemen… this is a football!” And then proceed to explain
all the ways one holds, throws, and runs with a football. Then he would point
to the field, and say “This is a football field!” He would walk them around;
describe the dimensions, the shape, the rules, and how the game is played.
Even though he was working with very experienced athletes,
Coach Lombardi knew that the team could only become great by mastering the
fundamentals. Just as a new football team has the goal to win all the
games and become a championship team, we have a great goal in life; that is, to
live as righteously as we can and return to our Heavenly Father and dwell with
Him. But how can we expect to meet this ultimate goal if we have not mastered
the fundamentals? The basics, such as reading our scriptures, prayer, baptism,
serving others, living the commandments...etc. There are a few of them; but
most basic thing we need to establish before we can effectively strive to
accomplish our life goal, is to have a strong, and personal relationship with
our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. How can we be motivated to work towards
spending our eternity with someone that we do not know? This is what I would
like to discuss with you today.
President James E Faust said: “We may not feel a closeness with Him because we think of Him as being
far away, or our relationship may not be sanctifying because we do not think of
Him as a real person.”
But our Heavenly Father is a real person. He has a body
of flesh and blood, just like we do. He created our bodies in His image for us.
Just like we have a father here
on earth, He is our Father in Heaven. He loves us, He watches over us, and He
wants us to be happy. He may seem far away but He is closer than you think. We
can feel of his presence and of His love for us through the Holy Ghost, and we
can directly talk to Him through prayer.
We can evaluate how close we are to our Heavenly Father by
asking these questions:
Do I pray? If so, how often? How sincere? You’re not going
to have a relationship with someone you don’t talk to.
Is it a one-sided conversation? Or do I also listen for His
Do I trust Him? Once again, it’s hard to be in a
relationship with someone that you can’t rely on.
Do I recognize His influence in my life? Do I trust that He
knows me best and that He knows what is best for me?
Our Heavenly Father loves us very much, He only wants what
is best for us. He gave us our lives and our bodies. He wants us to live with
Him again, but we are not perfect; so He also sent us Jesus Christ as a Savior,
to suffer the punishments for all our mistakes, so that it may be possible for
us to return to Him.
How can we strengthen
Pray, if you’re not already doing
it. If you are, pray more often, and more sincerely. Thank Him for the things
that He gives you. Recognize His hand in your life.
If we haven’t prayed for a while, we may feel out of
practice or unworthy to pray. But those feelings are from Satan. He does not want
us to pray. Last Sunday I learned that
the first action a General will take in a war is to mess up the enemy’s
communication lines. By doing this, the enemy cannot effectively organize
themselves and work together to defeat their opponent. Satan tries to impair
our communication lines with God by making us feel unworthy to pray.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi says: “For if ye hearken unto the Spirit which
teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit
teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold,
I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint;” (2Nephi 32:8-9)
I know that Heavenly Father always hears our prayers. Even
if we haven’t prayed for a long time, He will still listen, and He will answer
us. We must always be working to build our relationship with Him so that we can
interpret the answers that He gives us.
Read the scriptures. Elder Robert
D. Hales said: “When we want to speak to
God, we pray. When we want Him to speak to us, we read the scriptures.”
The scriptures are the words of God. What better way to come
to know Him than by studying His word? In the scriptures we are given
instructions on how to live our lives so that we can return to Him. They
testify of Jesus Christ, God’s son, who He sent to show us how we are supposed to live. By studying the scriptures we
can learn more about God’s nature, what He expects of us, and what we can
expect of Him. We will feel closer to Him by reading our scriptures every day.
Go to church. Show your love by
attending church and worshipping Him. We can also learn more about Him, His
nature, and His plan for us.
Be worthy to attend the temple; it
is the House of the Lord. How much closer can we get to being in God’s presence
than at the temple? In the Doctrine and Covenants it says “I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I
will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my
people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. Yea the
hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence
of the blessings”. (D&C 110:7-9)
Often serve others. In Matthew
it says “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” By serving others
we are also serving Christ. We will come to know Him and feel of His love for
those that we are serving, as well as His love for us.
If we will do these simple things that we have been taught all our lives
(pray, read our scriptures, go to church, serve others) then we will feel our
relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ grow. We will feel of
Their love for us; and we will also feel our testimonies increase. We will
greatly look forward to that day when we can finally see Them face to face, and
live with Them for eternity. President
Ezra Taft Benson once said: “Nothing is
going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than
to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us”.
These things I know
I know that Heavenly Father and
Jesus Christ real beings! They love us so much! All they want is for us to be
successful in this life so we can all live together again. I know that families
are eternal, thanks to the blessings of the temple.
I know this is the only true and complete church of Jesus
Christ on the earth. It was restored through Joseph Smith, who I know was
called of God at this time for a reason. I know that Joseph Smith received
revelation from God to translate the Book of Mormon and direct the
reorganization of His church.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is a second
witness of Jesus Christ; to be used with the Bible, and not against it. I am
grateful for the things we can learn about the people of the Americas before,
during, and after Christ’s life on earth in the Book of Mormon.
I know all these things and so much more; from the bottom of
my heart! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share these things and the
great Joy that this gospel brings me with the wonderful people in South
I am the one who will be keeping you updated on all the
amazing adventures Karely has while on her mission. I’m probably not supposed
to post anything til she actually leaves…. But where’s the fun in that?? :)
As friends or relatives of our dear future Sis. Madsen, I
wouldn’t be surprised if you have no clue who I am. And guess what? That’s
alright :) The only thing you need know is that I was lucky enough to have the
opportunity to become good friends with Karely as we shared an apartment our
freshman year at SUU. Roommates can do a lot to change or reinforce one’s
perspectives, and Karely definitely did that for me. I just want to say thank
you. Thank you for always being friendly, loving, compassionate, selfless,
grateful, and looking for the good in others. Through your example I have
learned to be more patient and caring.
Karely, you’re dedicated and I love that about you. I know
without a shadow of a doubt that the people in South Carolina will be blessed
because of you (and you by them!!). There are people and
experiences there that are meant for you and you alone,and I am confident that this will be some of
the best 18 months of your life. Sure, it’ll be a challenge, but it will also
be oh so rewarding. I believe in you and love you, as do all the people in your
life. You got this!! :D