Monday, March 16, 2015

The Body and the Spirit are the Soul of Man

I was asked by the Bishop to give a ten minute talk in Sacrament Meeting on the importance of being Physically Prepared. The principle is based on a goal that we set as a bishopric 5 years ago and is summed up in this 'Mission Statement' that we created.

So here is the body of the talk that I gave...hope it's useful. I didn't write the whole thing out...but most of it is here.

Suppose for a moment that you were suddenly given the car of your dreams.  Whatever it is that you dream of driving…it’s now yours.  Ferrari, Lotus, Grave Digger, Mini Cooper, M1 Abrams Tank…it’s your car, it’s in pristine condition and It is beautiful!


Now if you are like me, the first thing you’d do it hop in that car and take off!  Go for a drive.  Those of you with the Ferrari’s are most likely imagining yourselves on the autobahn driving at amazing speeds, feeling the wind in your hair and enjoying the European countryside.  If you have something with 4WD, your in the mountains splashing in the mud and enjoying the power climbing red rocks and having a blast.  If you got a motorcycle like me and you are racing down winding mountain roads...


Now I'd like you to consider what you would do to take care of such an amazing gift.  Would you wash it regularly? Would you maintain it on a scheduled routine, changing oil and making sure to keep it running smooth? Of course you would.


Would you EVER consider doing something to this car that might cause it lasting damage?


Would you dump turpentine on the hood or a milkshake in the back seat?  Would you even think about driving it out of the garage without any oil in the engine?  How about using Vegetable oil in it…it’s still oil right?  Would you pour sugar into the gas tank and expect it to run properly?


Of course you wouldn't, it would permanently ruin that car right?


Now hold that thought and think about this…


As members of Christ’s restored Church we've received special witness to the amazing nature of God’s plan of salvation.  We know where we came from, we know why we are here and we know where we are going after this life. 


We also know that God has given us some amazing gifts as part of this plan.


Ask any primary aged child “Why we are here?” and they can answer you right off the bat “To get a body and to be tested….duh.”


A body and agency!  Two of the greatest gifts that we have been blessed with by our heavenly father!  WOW!


Thinking back to the gift of a car, allow me to ask: So what are we doing with those gifts from Heavenly Father?


How are we using our agency? And what are we doing with our bodies? How well are we maintaining these gifts?


The bishop has asked me to focus my remarks on the latter.  How are we being “Physically Prepared” for life and for eternity.


 Before I get to far into my comments I want to make a couple of things very clear.


1)       I know that for any individual to get fit and be healthy requires that that individual be very motivated.  My sincere hope today is to help you find ways to be motivated…NOT WAYS to feel bad about yourself. We are all brothers and sisters and we are all here to help each other. 


2)       It is also important to clarify that the standards of fitness vary from person to person. People are built differently and MOST of us will never look like models.  What matters is that we are doing our personal best to be healthy and fit. 


So let’s talk about being Physically prepared.
From the document that the Bishop indicated, we’ve divided this physical prep into four sub-categories that we hope to teach and address throughout the coming year.
A)      Live the Word of Wisdom
B)       Be healthy and fit
C)       Honest, hard work
D)      Save money for resources and emergencies


You may ask “So what?”…we believe that one day we’ll pass on, we’ll be resurrected and have glorified bodies anyway…so why worry so much about being physically prepared?  You may even think to yourself “Isn't spiritual preparation more important anyway?”


I’d like to focus my comments to address this question and hope to help you see and understand WHY this matters.


The simple answer is illustrated with this quote from US Olympian and Army General George S. Patton who is quoted as saying “An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.”  I've modified this statement a bit to add “An active mind and spirit cannot exist in an inactive body”.


D&C 88:15 reads “The spirit and the body are the soul of man” this is a section that talks about how we obtain resurrection and celestial peace and this short verse teaches a priceless doctrine.
Our spirit and our body cannot be happy without each other.  together they are our SOUL. Physical peace is not attained without the spiritual influence and spiritual enlightenment cannot be achieved without the body. Just like Gen. Patton said "An active mind (and spirit) cannot exist in an inactive body".  They are designed by the divine creator to work together.


Not too long ago I had some concerns that I was trying to figure out, and as I pondered what to do, I decided to go for a lunchtime run. So I’m out running and as normally happens it starts hurting.  I’m pushing hard and eventually reach a point where my muscles are sore, my side hurts and all my body wants to do is quit.  That is when the spirit takes over, drives you forward and keeps you moving. As this happened I suddenly knew what to do about my problem.  The solution came to me like the clouds parting and the sun shining through.  It was awesome!  I believe I had a personal revelation at that point and it’s happened many times while I’m doing something physical outdoors.


This is one of the keys to understanding the relationship between body and spirit.  Isn't that one reason why we fast? To allow our spirit an opportunity to control and dominate the physical body...sort of show it who's the boss.  But our spirit could never have that experience without the body.


The two cannot be complete on their own.  They need each other.  It’s like a marriage.  One compliments the other…and neither can attain celestial glory without the other.


 With that doctrine in mind…consider how we tend to treat our bodies as latter day saints.  We ALL know we could be healthier and more diligent in doing our maintenance on this celestial gift.


Of course this is not easy.  It was never meant to be.  IF it was easy, it would not be worth doing.


In D&C 59: 16-20 we are told:


 16 ...the fullness of the earth is yours...
 18 Yea, all things which come of the earth...are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
 19 strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
 20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used.


Heavenly Father gave us this great big beautiful world to use and enjoy, not to watch from afar, but to get out and DO


In the Duty to God program that our Young Men participate in, there is a pattern of Learning, Acting and Sharing... I like to call it "Learn, DO, Share"  I believe that this is teaching us a Valuable pattern in that we must combine Learning (Mental) with DOING (Physical) and then the Sharing (Spiritual) is more effective and is strengthened.


 In the October General Conferernce in 2014 Elder Jörg Klebingat taught us:


"Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem…(“Go find balance” Mr. Miyagi)


Elder Klebingat goes on to quote Pres. Packer:


President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character” (“The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character” [Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 2, 2003], 2; Therefore, please use good judgment in what and especially how much you eat, and regularly give your body the exercise it needs and deserves."


Some may now be saying " where do I start?"


One of my biggest frustrations in starting out with a fitness plan was WHERE TO START? What information to believe? some of it even seemed to be person will tell you that running is the best thing you can do...then another will tell you that running will make you a cripple...who do you believe?

First of all, we have people in our ward that are involved with all kinds of activities.  Running, biking, climbing, hiking, weight lifting, crossfit, etc...nearly any activity you can think of, there is someone sitting here right now that can help you get started.  I'm sure than ANY of them would be thrilled to share their experience with you.


I did a brief search on just what the Church had available and found a lot of information on the church's web site in the Provident Living section on being physically fit and healthy, there were even links to Ensign articles on how to start an exercise program, how to incorporate weight training into your exercise program and how to eat healthier.  There are pamplets  on creating balanced diets.
For the Strength of Youth and other youth programs have ideas of where you can start as well.
 the most important thing is to just get started on something. Get can always move on to something else as you move along.


Keys to success:
1. Find an activity you enjoy or you won't do it.
2. Motivation
3. Find someone to help you (motivation, report to)
4. Don't get discouraged. You will make mistakes. Learn from them.

5. Make the Lord your partner. Pray for motivation and strength.