Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mary Poppins

Remember Mary Poppins? Remember Bert, the chimney sweep who is friends with both Mary Poppins and the children? Well, one day Bert tries to "jump into" one of his chalk pictures with the children. These are the directions he gave to the children:

"Let's see... you think. You wink. You do a double blink. You close your eyes, and jump."

At this point, Bert and the children jump onto another concrete square--the one with the picture drawn on it. Nothing happens. Mary Poppins then chimes in:

"Bert, why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple. Give me your hand, Michael. Don't slouch. 1, 2..."

And everyone seems to jump without trying, and they travel into the magical world of Bert's picture.

Why didn't it work the first time? Bert thought he knew how to make the magic. Later in the movie you find out that Bert and Mary Poppins had had previous adventures together. Perhaps these instructions he gave were what he was doing when the magic happened before. But he left out the critical element, and actually the only element that was necessary: Mary Poppins.

While Mary Poppins was working magic, Bert was only aware of his telestial actions, and began to believe that they had something to do -- in fact caused -- the magic. He was mistaken, and the children were disappointed.

I tie this to conversion in the gospel and the Spirit. Many missionaries in training positions have taught techniques for door approaches, or special ways of leading discussions, that they promised would double baptisms. I have heard many, many promises. I have never witnessed or even heard of a story where applying the technique actually worked. On the other hand, when I and other missionaries have applied the Spirit, and put our whole faith in that, and followed the Spirit's guidance -- that is when the conversion happens. Now the unaware companion to the missionary who is led by the Spirit may inappropriately attribute the success to the techniques he used, rather than the true source.

The fact is that Heavenly Father is the source of all truth, all power, and true conversion. We must attribute each success to Him. And if we want to see an increase in baptisms as missionaries, we must focus on improving our relationship with Him, become familiar with the scriptures, and become more influenced by the Holy Ghost.

Sound preachy? Maybe there's a reason General Conference sounds preachy. I submit to you my testimony: that there are many pure and splendid gospel truths that are only accessible through the scriptures and the power of the Holy Ghost. No wonder the brethren keep hitting on personal scripture study and prayer over and over again. They want us to have what they have. They can't give it to us. They can only teach us how to obtain it for ourselves.

God loves each and every one of us. He wants us to feel his love always. We must be in tune to feel that.

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