I have a bad habit of juggling books. I'll read atleast two or more at the same time. Must be some form of reading ADD. I've been reading "Intimate Issues" - a book about sex from a Biblical perspective - it has in many ways, been such an amazing blessing in my life. And I am also reading a Bible study by Beth Moore about finding liberty in Christ. Also, a huge blessing to me. During yesterday's reading in the sex book, the chapter was discussing what to do when we are attracted to other men outside our husbands. Since I do not face this issue, I made a note to store away the information should the temptation ever arise, but didn't take any personal convictions away from it. Just thought it was a very pratical way to deal with that particular sin.
Over the last few days while reading in Beth Moore's study, I've become increasingly convicted to "clean house." I know I did an inventory revealing how much LDS "stuff" I have, but here's a few pictures.
This is just from ONE bookshelf! And these are just the books I could allow myself just to take OFF the bookshelf!
This is just one row of DVDs alone that we have. This row is dedicated to children's movies and we actually have two rows of these - the second is MOSTLY secular (Disney, Pixar, and a few independents) but also has church movies for kids.
One shelf of adult movies. Just one. There's more.
Today, it was almost as if the Lord was screaming at me through her - not in anger, but rather trying to make me see what I have refused to acknowledge, even though I kind of see it. (Make sense? )
Two things spoke to me. First, she reminded her readers that we had studied three godly kings - Uzziah, Jotham, and now Hezekiah. All three struggled and at times lost themselves to pride. She reminded us how this pride impacted them, their people, and future generations. When Isaiah tells Hezekiah that Babylon will take his kingdom captive - but in a later generation, Hezekiah is okay with this - because it will not occur during his reign. He is not caring for the future generations. The whole reason Babylon would be able to overthrow them was because Hezekiah's pride let his gaurd down and allowed Babylon to become familiar with his kingdom - personal tour guide given by himself, the King. His actions were to have resounding effects throughout generations. Just as Jotham's failure to tear down high places allowed his son to become entrapped in idol worship. The ripples of what we do today can affect the lives of our children, grand-children, and so on. This is, actually, a very simple LDS concept that is often taught and exhorted by leadership going all the way up to the First Presidency. Stay on the straight and narrow because any, even slight detours from the path can cause devestation to future generations leaving them in apostacy and darkness with the Lord. So why, hadn't this thought crossed my mind until now?
If my children are raised in a Christian home, surrounded by LDS movies, books, games, toys, music, and so forth - what else should I expect but confusion at the least and complete captivity by Satan at the most? I have to stand firm in my convictions now and let me children see my example. If I don't set it - someone else will. Am I willing to take that gamble?
The second statement she made resonated so loudly within me that I looked around to see if someone was with me. She shared a story of how she purchased a new Bible, but how since it was not broken in yet (the pages not turning easily) she had decided to continue to carry her old Bible with her on speaking engagements. She shares that the Holy Spirit whispered to her, "Sounds like pride to me.". Instantly, I understood. Which is completly unlike me - I usually have to read through a few times before catching where the pride entered in. However, the Spirit revealed it to me. Here, this godly woman had an issue of pride. She wanted to look like she knew her Bible so well because she could effortlessly flip to any given passage and show off her knowledge. Does she know her Bible? Of course I'm sure she does. But she wanted to show off how well she knew it by the effortless finding of passages.
The Spirit then confirmed my own pride. I wanted to keep all my books to look knowledgeable. Do I know my LDS doctrine? Sure. I learn new things here and there that I never caught onto before, but overall I'd feel confident explaining the LDS church, it's teachings, and doctrines to anyone who asked. I'd feel confident defending it and even being able to cite various sources for what I was teaching. It's not that I'm not knowledgeable - I want to also look knowledgeable. I want my knowledge to be recognized. I never realized this before. I've rationalized keeping my stuff, but to paraphrase a statement our Pastor made this past Sunday, rationlizing is simply conforming your thinking to fit your actions. And this was exactly what I was doing. There are other - also very prideful and fleshly - reasons I do not wish to get rid of my LDS stuff. But they are temporal, fleshly, sinful reasons.
When I realized this and decided to do what I had been prolonging for months now - I realized how much of a hold these items had on me. Critics often speak of seductive spirits that accompany the LDS church - and if I hadn't felt AND recognized them before, I did so now. Intensly. With every single book - a favorite or not - it was hard to simply remove them from the shelf. Then, once they were in my hands, I found it incrediably aching and emotionally hard to put them down. Thoughts were racing through my head trying to rationlize why I should keep these items. "These deal with families. You've got a young family. Keep this one." or "This one is about the temple, don't you want to study the temple so you can minister to people better about the contrasts before the temple and the Bible?" or "This one is an amazing apologetics book, keep it so you can study the replies some more with correct thinking this time and then be able to help more people." The worst by far was so much more than thoughts in my head, it was accompanied by an overwhelming amount of emotion, "Keep this one. In case you return to the church. You know you miss it. Perhaps you should read these items, and keep them - just in case." I knew I was doing the right thing. But it was so difficult.
Then, yesterday's reading from the sex book returned to me. I went to my phone and called my best friend, who also had to get rid of her own Jehovah's Wittness and Catholicism materials. Since she's also the one who sent me the sex book, it was easy for me to explain why I was calling her. I needed to confess my sin and have an accountability partner. I needed someone to help me through this. I knew, if left to myself - I would continue to not do it. We chatted while I finished clearing just ONE bookshelf. Each time, I would ask, "But what about this one? It deals with.... can I send you a link and have you review it for me?" I just wanted to find every possible reason to keep just one more item.
We had our pastor's family to dinner on Saturday and when I shared with him how I wanted to keep some books, but was concerned about the reliabilty of the content (in reference to early Christianity's history, context of the cannons, and so forth) he made such a simple comment that I absolutly did not want to hear. "I'd advise just getting rid of all of it." I tried to keep my composure. It seemed everyone was saying, "Just get rid of all of it." The worst part was, the first person in this everyone was God.
I'm taking this in stages. Praise the Lord I got one bookshelf cleaned out. Now just two more to go, plus movies, music, and more. The high places must come down. It's really hard for me - I just don't want to do it. But obediance to the Lord is a step to maturity. If I can't obey by simply cleaning my home of falsehoods, protecting my children and husband from them, then how on Earth am I to obey in other areas of my life?