Instant Messages

By Hartt Wixom

Finding Pluto

In 1905, there were eight known planets in our solar system. But astronomers were certain there was a ninth, unnamed planet out there somewhere. Yet no one had ever seen it.

Astronomers could have dismissed the planet as nonexistent because it could not be seen. But based on the evidence they observed in the motion of other planets in our solar system, the planet had to be there.

In 1915, U.S. astronomer Percival Lowell concluded that everything fit harmoniously if the planet was located in a certain place in the sky. He predicted approximately where it would be found. But still, no one had ever seen it. (See Encyclopedia Americana [1995], vol. 22, 260.)

Did science give up because the planet’s existence could not be proven by observation? Not at all. When more powerful telescopes were built in 1930, astronomers were able to gaze at Pluto for the first time.

Faith works in the same way. We find harmony in our lives by studying the scriptures, following the commandments, praying, and living as if God were there. Even though we can’t see Him, we see evidence of Him everywhere (see Alma 30:44).

Of course, the day will come when we will see God (see 3 Ne. 26:4). But until that day, if we exercise faith by obeying His commandments, we will be better prepared to meet Him.

[illustration] Illustrated by Sam Lawlor

Prepared for His Coming

One ordinary Sunday I was sitting with my family in sacrament meeting. We heard the announcements and listened to the prayer; then as we were singing the opening hymn, something very out of the ordinary happened. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife walked into our chapel! Sister Perry sat in the congregation as her husband walked up and sat on the stand. It was a complete shock to everyone. Elder Perry explained to us that he had planned to attend a different ward but had become lost and decided to attend our ward instead.

Although we were surprised that an Apostle of the Lord had come to our sacrament meeting, we were prepared. The priesthood holders blessed and passed the sacrament reverently. The girls in the congregation were dressed modestly. Our meeting was being run with order. Our building was clean and was a place where the Spirit could be present, and the speakers were ready with well-prepared, inspiring talks.

On a more personal level, I felt that my family and I were prepared. We had been taught by my parents to be reverent, to listen, and to sing the hymns. We didn’t need to change our routine because Elder Perry was there.

The surprise visit of an Apostle to our ward made me think of the Second Coming of the Savior. When He comes, we won’t be expecting Him. But we can prepare for His coming right now. Mark 13:32–33 says, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”

I hope I can be as prepared for the coming of Christ as my ward was for the unexpected visit of an Apostle.

Getting to Know Joseph

In a recent ward conference, our stake president advised us to choose one area of doctrine that we wanted to gain a testimony of and to fast and pray about it. I chose to pray for a testimony of Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God.

I kept praying and waiting for an answer, but nothing came. I grew impatient. I was sincere in my desire, so why wouldn’t an answer come?

After several weeks, my seminary teacher approached me with an assignment. All the institute and seminary classes in our area were to give monthly lessons on Joseph Smith. My seminary teacher asked me to be the one to give a different lesson each month on “A Day in the Life of Joseph Smith.”

I didn’t really want this extra responsibility, but I accepted the assignment. As I began to read the material on the Prophet Joseph Smith, I realized that this assignment was the answer to my prayers. This opportunity helped me to really learn who the Prophet was and what he had done for the Church.

Also, the personal testimonies I read from people who had known Joseph Smith strengthened my own testimony of his divine calling. Because of this experience, I am so thankful for the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I am gaining a stronger testimony every day.

[illustration] Brother Joseph, by David Lindsley, do not copy

Help Me, Rhonda

It was late on a Saturday night, and everyone in my family was tired after a long weekend. To make things worse, my dad was once again out of the country for his job. I was about to go to bed when I realized that my mom was cleaning! As she worked, she began to sing a song by the Beach Boys: “Help me, Rhonda; help, help me, Rhonda.” A bit puzzled, I asked my mom why she was singing that song. She explained that since no one else would help her clean our house, maybe Rhonda would.

I suddenly realized that I was being completely unfair to my tired and overworked mother. I dropped what I was doing and said, “Mom, what can I do?” She replied, “Well, if you could rinse and put the dishes in the dishwasher, I would really appreciate it.”

When I finished the dishes, I did a few other small jobs. By the time everything was done, it was about 11:00 p.m. My mom was sitting on the couch for a minute to get some energy back, so I walked over to her and asked if there was anything else I could do.

She shook her head. Then with a tired but grateful smile she said, “Thank you … Rhonda,” and gave me a hug. Though I had helped lift my mom’s burden that night, I knew that I had given her just an hour of my time, compared to the thousands she willingly gives to my family. It was one hour I wouldn’t have wanted to spend any other way.

[photo] Photograph by Christina Smith