My Talk Assignment - Finding Peace by Forgiving others

Postdated Notes after the draft below was prepared for a talk that was assigned to me a week before 11 Aug 2019 to give to KL branch. Due to visits by General Authorities and other local authorities, the talk could be given only a month later on 8 Sep 2019.

I started the talk only roughly following the guideline of the introduction I had written below and used the scriptures I had prepared that relate to the topic. I was the 2nd and last speaker so I had more time to fill than the 10-12 minutes allocated to me as it was 35mins past the hour when I stood at the pulpit to look at the clock. The first speaker, 'Khei', was a female single adult newer to the church baptized on 26 Mar 2016 when I was the Branch Mission Leader. She was given the title Finding Peace through Jesus Christ. She did well and she finished her talk within the 10-12mins.

My introduction followed what was written earlier below and brought President Kimball's book to be a show and tell object.
I had planned to show the other book that impressed me very much also when I first joined the Church in 1979 which was Le Grand Richard's book, 'A Marvelous Work and a Wonder', who was an Apostle during the time of President Kimball. However, I informed the congregation that I had lost the book some years ago, probably loaned to someone else, so I brought another book out which was a Harry Potter's book to 'break the ice' that brought laughter from the listeners.

Now I know why I wanted to mention Le Grand Richards as he was a very powerful and convincing speaker, whose profession previously was a lawyer. His book was read by many missionaries, including myself, to give us ammunition in case any Christian pastor from another Church would negate our teachings or seek to challenge our doctrines in which I had already become well versed. Over the years, my knowledge of the Gospel had gone beyond what Le Grand Richard's book shared which was 1979 when I first read it. I could defend our teachings against any other religion should anyone choose to contend with me but I would usually avoid them as I know it would be a waste of time. In our modern-day, I could give them a reference to this journal that I wrote only many years later when I was helping another member to understand something that he wasn't clear about. 

Another reason why I would mention the name of Le Grand Richards was that this Apostle was known to stray from his prepared notes, even during the time when he would speak at General Conference time of the Church where they had teleprompters for speakers to read their prepared talk. Le Grand Richards would often time in the middle of his talk suddenly stray to talk impromptu, not following his pre-written text with the reason that he was following the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This would drive the team of translators of different languages crazy. They thought they had his speech on their screens, that they could translate as he spoke following the teleprompter text to assist them in their live translation to others attending the conference or viewing live in other locations connected by satellite. However, it didn't turn out that way.  Now I'm not an Apostle but I knew I would stray from my notes too when inspired by the Holy Ghost!

So what happened was I did follow the introduction and read the important scriptures highting those from the Bible in Matthew was from the East as the Jews in Israel are geographically in the Middle East. What I quoted from Mosiah, which is from the Book of Mormon of the history of the Ancient Americas, is from what we call the Western continent. I expressed it in this way to highlight that the teachings were basically the same in the eastern or western part of the world.

Then I started straying from my prepared talk as I knew it wasn't enough to cover the extended time I had. I started emphasizing that there were two parts to the forgiveness principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Firstly the Savior truly suffered or paid for Man's sins through the act of Atonement, where he bled from every pore showing a great pain and suffering he had to go through. So, therefore, we can find peace to know that we can receive forgiveness due to the sacrifice of the Savior for all of us. However, as read in the scriptures, we are also to forgive others for what they have done wrong to us.

This was when the Holy Ghost took over what I should say and I informed the congregation that I would be telling them in terms of some short stories of my life where I found that it takes a certain kind of spirit, mindset or even a Consciousness to know how to forgive another of their wrongdoings or sins against us. I made the comment that it seems easier for us to repent to ask for forgiveness from a God whom we know loves us. It seemed really harder for us to forgive another who has sinned against us which the law of God requires of us in order for us to receive forgiveness of our own sins.

I started the story of remembering I had come to Church late one Sunday for sacrament meeting and our District President Tolman was speaking. I sat outside at the couch near the door to be able to listen to the emphasis he was sharing to say the words, "I am sorry" often to his wife. It was funny as he kept repeating those words "I am sorry" emphasizing to the congregation that he would always say it to his own wife very often and encouraged the married man in the congregation to do likewise.

So with his story in my mind, I shared an experience one day when I was driving our oldest son, with me wife, to his friends home for a party where he had a map on a piece of paper drawn by his parents. Our youngest son was with us too, following a decision we made that after dropping the oldest, the three of us would go for dinner together on that Saturday evening. I was driving and it was an unfamiliar area for us and I couldn't follow the map either. I was making wrong turns and was covering the same area several times but still couldn't find the home. It had gotten dark too.

My wife eventually took the map and guided me to eventually find the home with a few more rounds. Now I realized why I couldn't find it as I was following a road that was straight but the map had the straight road with a kink in the middle that was not exactly straight like in the map that caused me to be disorientated. After dropping our son, I logically explained to my wife that the map was drawn wrongly or inaccurately but my wife insisted it was correct. So the exchange of words as to who was right and wrong carried on in the journey toward the eating place we had planned.

I described vividly to the congregation in my talk that our youngest son sitting behind in the middle, close to us, had felt the tension in the air but was acting very cool as if there was no argument going on between us. He was doing his best to change the topic of our heated discussion. My mind was very aware of this. Finally, when we reached the destination for dinner and I parked the car, I told the congregation that I immediately went to the other side of the car to open the door for my wife. I then held her hand firmly as she came out, to cross the street together, with my son holding my other hand. I simply told her "Let's have a good dinner" and leave the argument behind us!  My comment to the congregation was that we can immediately stop an ongoing disagreement that was going nowhere by just making a decision that we will move forward and forget whatever difference we were arguing about as it was not really important. This is a habit or a quick decision of the mind to move forward and not dwell to bring peace back immediately and we did have an enjoyable evening on that Saturday night!

Then I was impressed to share my next story which was also about my wife and I. The inspiration must be to touch upon the relationship between husbands and wives. This has become quite a challenge in our modern world today when marriages are taking a toll with a high rate of divorces. (Post talk inspiration: I found this link to a talk by Le Grand Richards that I have filed in my confidential consciousness/memory system online but had forgotten about it until writing this journal.) So I related the story of a miraculous experience my wife and I had when President Hinckley came to visit Singapore in January 2000 shared in this link to another journal post of mine.
I related the story that at that time of the visit, my wife and I were having some differences and click the link given to know what happened and it's significance.

This photo above is shared here as part of my 'postdated notes' about my talk after it was delivered. As I was leaving the sacrament hall, she came up to me to share what happened to her when she heard me talk about the gush of wind or something occurrence that came to me during President Hinckley's visit to Singapore. (click the previous link for details) She simply told me the hair on her arm stood up. As I talked to her more and her 2 daughters, I discovered her husband had also passed away some years ago due to cancer

I continued my storytelling, learned from my wife, who became a recognized storyteller while in Singapore during her 7 years fight against cancer since she was diagnosed in 2005. She won a top prize in a storytelling contest in Singapore. I continued my stories to share my personal experiences with my wife about her last days at the hospital of the miracle experiencing a ray of sunshine coming down upon us at the hospital corridor as we expressed love for each other recorded in this link.

As I found that I had more time to continue speaking when looking at the clock, I was impressed to share some stories outside of a husband/wife relationship to mention the following true stories in brief, with lessons that I was tested to have a forgiving heart towards third parties who may have done something that would hurt me emotionally and even financially. They have become great lessons of my life's experiences to remind me of the truthfulness of the title of my talk assignment.

The first was the only emotional experience that troubled me in all my years of service given voluntarily to our Church, where a humble prayer to my Heavenly Father calmed me down totally. A new convert to the Church suddenly took a position against my leadership in the Church by spreading rumors to members in my branch of false things I had done to him. He was new but most of the members were not. They knew me well since I served as a missionary in 1980 to later marry and start a family of my own living in the same KL branch.(Video story)  A few came forward to inform me what was happening and assured me that they knew what he had said was not true.

It was the first time to face such a personal attack from a member of the Church so I was emotionally affected as I was always kind to him and helped him as a new member in many ways. I knew I had to pray to my Heavenly Father and my prayer was very quickly answered after I thumbed open the scriptures to find a verse from our Book of Mormon shared at the bottom of this journal as I added it as a postdated note to remind me of the exact scripture revealed to me. You can scroll down to the bottom or click this link to bring you to the bottom of this journal instantly.

Well, one can be hurt emotionally but it was also my lot to have been hurt even financially by a trusted person misappropriating my funds. I only mentioned this one experience of mine briefly but not about another who subtly misused the trust that my millionaire friend had in me by borrowing a large sum of money from him with no firm security that he could provide, except that he was my good and trusted friend. When it was time to repay, and my millionaire friend was kind and patient not to assert any pressure, but the one in debt wouldn't even communicate with me or my friend!

In these situations, I think Heavenly Father must be testing me to see how I would respond to these acts of selfishness which even criminal in nature. I expressed to the congregation that it was indeed a real challenge for me not to think evil of the guilty party or avoid feelings to seek revenge. I had to make sure bad thoughts would never fill my mind towards those who acted to hurt me for whatever reason.

I silently thank them for making my life more difficult so that I could develop greater resilience and even creativity towards overcoming all kinds of adversity in my life. It did make my life tougher but the Lord knew I was a capable person to handle any situation. I have always believed that 'when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.' I felt the fear of financial failure or  humiliation was the temptation that the guilty parties received from no one else but the same devil who would tempt every man to do anything evil instead of good.

Time was running out when I just shared a few stories mentioned above in brief but not my after talk commentaries in this journal which I am concluding. I closed by talking about Le Grand Richards that I was aware in a talk by President Kimball from memory that as he had a habit of talking beyond the time limit, President Kimball would use his walking stick to touch his legs as a reminder to end soon. I looked back at the Branch President as I mentioned this so that he would be aware that I was finishing which I did with a closing testimony of the Savior and his Church today.

As an after note, I regretted not to share the hilarious part of the story of Le Grand Richards and President Kimballs. When Le Grand Richards was asked by the prophet why didn't he follow his already written talk, he replied that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost. The prophet then reminded Le Grand Richards that he should ask for the inspiration of the Holy Ghost at the time when he was writing his talk!

How could I do all that I've done shared above or achieved much in the temporal world of life though I know I'm not a perfect person in any way? I know the answer because I wrote detailed account of my life for the past 40 years since I was accepted the Lord Jesus Christ by being baptized on 29 July 1979.

To be continued...

Notes prepared before the talk:

When I joined the Church in 1979, the prophet at that time was President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimball was a businessman before he was called to be an Apostle. I had learned that before accepting his call, he wanted to clear himself of any sins he may have committed and somehow reached out publicly to all those he had dealt with him before in the business world if any had felt he had done something wrong or transacted unfairly, he would do something to compensate them for his past sins. I was touched by learning of this history and when I heard the voice of President Kimball speaking on voice tape or video, I was also touched with the special kind of voice he spoke in. I had learned he had suffered cancer in his throat and doctors enabled him to speak with some artificial device implanted on him where he had to speak with more effort or wind to produce a very husky voice that had a humbling effect to listeners.

He who wrote a book entitled The Miracle of Forgiveness of which my talk will use some extracts from his teachings in this “Must Read Book” with further sharing of some of my personal feelings and experiences.

Chapter 18 “Forgive to Be Forgiven”

Matthew 6:14-15
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The Lord must have considered this basic. He had long before made the same statement to his people in the Western world through his great prophet, Alma, when it was given in comparable words: 

Mosiah 26:31
30 Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
31 And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.
32 Now I say unto you, Go; and whosoever will not repent of his sins the same shall not be numbered among my people; and this shall be observed from this time forward.
33 And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them, and that he might judge the people of that church according to the commandments of God.

Forgiveness Must Be Sincere
The command to forgive and the condemnation which follows failure to do so could not be stated more plainly than in this modern revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith:  My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.

Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:8-10.) 

The lesson stands for us today. Many people, when brought to a reconciliation with others, say that they forgive, but they continue to hold malice, continue to suspect the other party, continue to disbelieve the other's sincerity. This is sin, for when reconciliation has been effected and when repentance is claimed, each should forgive and forget, build immediately the fences which have been breached, and restore the former compatibility.

The early disciples evidently expressed words of forgiveness, and on the surface made the required adjustment, but "forgave not one another in their hearts." This was not a forgiveness, but savored of hypocrisy and deceit and subterfuge. As implied in Christ's model prayer, it must be a heart action and a purging of one's mind. Forgiveness means forgetfulness. One woman had "gone through" a reconciliation in a branch and had made the physical motions and verbal statements indicating it, and expressed the mouthy words forgiving. Then with flashing eyes, she remarked, "I will forgive her, but I have a memory like an elephant. I'll never forget."

Do Not Judge

One man came in with his erring wife, and when she had been disciplined by disfellowshipment he taunted her, saying, "Now, how do you like it? You can't take the sacrament. Now don't you wish you had listened to me?" As this despicable husband was judging, it reminded me of the corrupt men who brought the adulteress to the Lord, whose soft answer puts all such accusers to flight: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 87.)

The scriptures are very strict upon the unauthorized judging. The Lord himself made it clear and emphatic:  Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matt. 7:1-2.)

The Lord will judge with the same measurements meted out by us. If we are harsh, we should not expect other than harshness. If we are merciful with those who injure us, he will be merciful with us in our errors. If we are unforgiving, he will leave us weltering in our own sins. While the scriptures are plain in their declaration that man shall have meted out to him the same measure that he gives his fellowmen, the meting out even of warranted judgment is not for the layman, but for proper authorities in Church and state. The Lord will do the judging in the final analysis.

3 Nephi 19:11
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of acontention is not of me, but is of the bdevil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. 

(Click here to return to the paragraph on top where this scripture was referred to)

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