Who am I and what am I doing here? These two questions have been asked since the beginning of time. But no other questions are more important. Your happiness, my happiness and the happiness, peace and prosperity of our planet literally hinge on our collective understanding of who we are and what are we doing here.
My answers to these two questions have changed through time. As I child, I would have answered; “I’m Earlynn. I think I’m here to do what Mom and Dad want me to do.” Soon my answers changed to: “I am a child of God and I am here to keep His commandments.” I was taught to bless my food before each meal and say my bedtime prayers each night. Kneeling in family prayer was common and always preceded our travels asking for Heavenly Father’s protection. Fasting was combined with prayer when any of our family or close friends were seriously ill, always recognizing, God’s will be done. My parents were very religious and taught me to love and trust my Heavenly Father knowing he will always hear and answer my prayers.
As a little girl I couldn’t quite figure out why our prayers ended with “Hay Men.” I had a mental image of two tall farmers holding pitch forks in front of a towering hay stack. I must have been seven before I realized the word was amen. Prayer has always been an important part of my life.
Dad was a highly respected leader in the Church. Many times sick friends or members would come to our home asking Dad for a blessing. Many said he had the gift of healing. My Dad’s beautiful baritone voice and his ‘take charge – no nonsense’ demeanor seemed to demand respect. Mom was more fun loving and playful. Both Mom and Dad set an example of service in the Church. Dad adored Mom and made sure me and my siblings, Lee, Myrna, Pennie and Pat, treated her with respect. Although Dad had a stern exterior, he was a marshmallow. And although Mom was playful, she could be tough as nails. They were a good team.
I was taught to be proud of my immigrant heritage. My great grandmother as a young Welsh convert, put her possessions into a handcart and pulled it across the plains to Salt Lake City. My great grandfather, a Danish convert worked as an indentured servant to repay his uncle for his passage to the United States. His son, my grandfather, followed his Dad to the U.S. as a young teen. My grandmother came to Spanish Fork, Utah, from Iceland at the tender age of three. Her family left all their possessions in Iceland because of their love of the Church knowing their friends and relatives in Iceland would disown them. Ancestors of both Mom and Dad made incredible sacrifices to migrate to Utah as converts to the Church.
I began attending Church regularly when I was five. I loved Sunday School. I got to wear my prettiest dress. Mom always curled my hair and made sure my shoes were shined. It was important that I show Heavenly Father and Jesus that I loved them enough to look my very best at Church. I loved singing Jesus wants me for a sunbeam. Remember the words?
“Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, to shine for Him each day. In every way try to please Him, at home, at school, at play. A Sunbeam! A Sunbeam! Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam. A Sunbeam! A Sunbeam! I’ll be a Sunbeam for Him.”
That’s it! I knew who I was and why I was here! I am a Sunbeam for Jesus and I am here to please Him. The Church became the center of my life. I went to Sunday School on Sunday morning and Sacrament Meeting later in the day. During the week I went to Primary on Wednesdays and as a teen I loved MIA on Wednesday evenings.
My teachers and advisors were dedicated and loving and felt like extended family. I believed I was a member of the only true Church on earth. I needed to listen to the leaders and do as they say to ensure my place in Heaven. I was comfortable and content. I learned there was a lot more to being a Sunbeam for Jesus than just going to Church. Being a Sunbeam for Jesus required much more. There were lots of commandments I needed to obey.
I learned when I die, I will be judged. If I keep the commandments and do as the prophet says I will live for eternity in the highest heavenly kingdom with my family. But if I fail to keep the commandments, I will be sent to a lower kingdom apart from my righteous family. They will have the ability to visit me, but I will never be allowed to enter their kingdom.
I learned our Church leaders talk with God and all faithful members must always follow them. Our leaders are called by God to lead the Church down and straight and narrow path and God will never allow them to lead the Church astray. There may be many things I may not understand, these are God’s mysteries. Eventually I will come to understand these mysteries when I enter Heaven. Until then, I should follow the prophet and not question his directives if I want to enter the highest kingdom of Heaven. I was taught God loves everyone, but has a special fondness for members of the Church.
Everyone must first be baptized to become a member of the Church in order to eventually enter the highest kingdom in Heaven. Those who die without baptism will be taught in Heaven and can be baptized posthumously in God’s Temples. They will be given the opportunity to accept or reject it. If they reject it, they can never enter the highest kingdom. This brief life on earth will determine my place in Heaven for eternity.
My next blog will continue my story. Please come back next week to continue reading my story.
For now, Earlynn’s just sayin’; “Life in a journey. As we learn new principles, life gets better and better.”
If you would like to purchase a copy of my book, Transformed, click on the above tab, Earlynn’s book to order your own copy.