The Mormon Experience

By Nadine Doyle


A Calming Spirit Entered My Classroom

A few years ago I taught a very difficult and troubled group of children in school. I was upset because I had so much trouble teaching them and I found myself depressed and tearful as I left school each day.

One day a woman working with me told me she had been praying for a calming influence to enter my classroom so I could teach. Although she was not a member of the Church, she knew the power of prayer and was, I feel, prompted by the Holy Ghost to tell me of her prayers to remind me what I should do.

I realized that I had been so involved with the problem that I had forgotten to go to the Lord for help. From then on I often found myself on my knees before school began, praying for help and inspiration. As the weeks went by, a calming spirit did enter the classroom and I was able to see I was making some progress with the children. There were still moments of frustration, but I seemed better able to deal with them.

We would all do well to follow Paul’s counsel to Timothy: “Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:6–7.)

The Holy Ghost influences us in simple ways to allow great things to happen in our lives.

Finding Joy in the Savior’s Plan

In September 1975, just after the United Nations declaration of a decade for women, a reporter was interviewing me about Latter-day Saint women. “Can you hold the priesthood?” she asked. “Do you feel Mormon women need to be liberated?” I was confused, awkward, and unsure of my answers. After she left I thought about the questions she asked and decided to find answers for myself.

Today I wish I could speak with that reporter again. I would like to tell her that I know the gospel is true and that joy comes from following a plan where women and men have unique responsibilities. Married or single, rich or poor, in the marketplace or at home, a woman finds joy by following the Lord’s commandments and bringing refinement and beauty into the world. Knowing this is true, why should we heedlessly try to follow the teachings of men?

President Kimball said, “Let us get our instruments tightly strung and our melodies sweetly sung. Let us not die with our music still in us. Let us rather use this precious mortal time to move confidently and gloriously upward toward the eternal life which God our Father gives to those who keep his commandments.” (A Woman’s Choices, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984, p. 97.)

No matter what our situation in life, we are a means for bringing beauty into this world. We must learn to sing our own song while life lasts, not let others control the music of our lives or cover it up with unpleasant noise.

We need not search for a woman’s place; we need only search for the Savior. He it is who will show us the vision of our potential and help us find the joy that comes from being virtuous women.

Those Long Hours Do Pay Off

I had often wondered if the long hours I spent struggling to get my children to be reverent in church would ever be worth it. It did not take much for David, my seven-year-old, to get four-year-old Jeff and one-year-old Wade giggling, whispering, or fighting. Although each week I came with a new idea for helping my sons to be more reverent, I usually went home from church tired and discouraged. Many times I became angry and had to take one of the children out of the chapel so that others would not be disturbed.

But I was concerned about my approach to the problem. Did my continual disciplining make them feel unacceptable to our Heavenly Father? I decided that the next fast Sunday I would make my sons’ problem with reverence the object of my thoughts and prayer.

That Sunday, five minutes hadn’t passed before I felt that I should take David out of the chapel. But because I had been fasting and praying about this problem, I offered a quick prayer instead. “Father,” I asked, “he needs correction, but I want to do it in the right way. What should I do?”

The impression I felt was, “Be patient. Help him settle down as best you can.”

I tried to obey that impression and was able to keep things more under control than before. Then, toward the end of the meeting, I watched as David stood to bear his testimony.

At that moment I realized that, if I had acted on my first feelings, he probably would not have felt the Spirit which prompted him to bear his testimony.

That experience was given to me by our Heavenly Father to show me that, in raising my children, if I follow the Spirit I can help them to grow in the gospel and help them develop their own testimonies.

I have remembered that experience whenever I have been tempted to speak out with criticism or to doubt my children’s actions. It has tempered the punishments I have meted out and has helped me to remember love in times of anger.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Lennis Jones