I absolutely love fifth Sunday lessons; I love being able to having another testimony of the Bishopric. Since we had family in town, I was able to take notes and delve into the topic.
A few months ago, all of the regional leaders in our area had a training with Elder Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Our Bishop was so touched by how it was done that he spoke to the youth a couple months ago (my husband works with them, so that's how I know) and then the adults this past Sunday.
We were asked to come to the meeting with questions about our multiple stewardships, be they in the family or at church. And, not just any questions, but the type of questions that keep you up at night. He then stated: When a problem is present, there needs to be a reinforcement of doctrine or principles. Well, in order to reinforce we must first understand what doctrine and principles are.
Doctrine is truth revealed from heaven about eternal progression. It answers the why questions in life. Elder Bednar explained there are only 3 or 4 doctrines: Nature of the Godhead, Plan of Salvation, the Atonement and an unknown (it was implied that either E. Bednar was still trying to figure this one out or didn't want to give it away because it's meant for own discovery). These doctrine, eternal truths, set the foundation for everything else in the church and in life.
Principles then are guidelines for activity which grow out of doctrine. They answer the what? question; things like faith, obedience, repentance, everything in the scriptures, etc. Our Bishop reminded us not to get too rapped up in classification. The importance is in how we apply the doctrines and principles in our lives.
Applications of doctrine and principles are very personal and can change throughout time and circumstance. Applications cannot be taught by an every day mortal human being; they must be taught through the Holy Ghost through personal revelation. We use personal revelation to apply revealed principles like the Word of Wisdom, Sabbath Day, repentance, etc. in our lives and do so; but what may be good for one is not what was revealed to another.
Does this mean one is right and the other is wrong? I don't know, but what I do know if two trying-to-be righteous individuals are using the gift of the Holy Ghost to make right decisions, then they must both be right. The key there is we know if it's right for us by our own personal worthiness. We need to be worthy of the Holy Ghost in order to make decisions with his help.
What we can do is use our illustrations (experiences) of how personal applications of doctrine and principles work in our lives; which I think is exactly what we do with this blog! "I read this the other day," or "I was thinking about..." is usually how our posts begin. The spirit is talking to us; wanting us to share how it helped us because then we help each other. We try to grow closer to Christ, and each other, by sharing our own personal experiences of how we applied the gospel.
This whole hour was a big A-Ha! moment for me. The gospel is much simpler than we think. My husband wonderfully shared when the Bishop spoke to the youth, but I didn't write it down so I forgot. I remember how when he shared with me how I wanted to turn around and share it to my Spirituality sisters and everyone who would listen. I'm so grateful for inspired leaders who take their stewardship responsibility seriously and strive to spread the happiness around.
Let's never be afraid to share our 'secret weapon' because it's a something that helps us all.