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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Best Valentine

This year when I walked into the stores at the beginning of January, my companion and I saw merchandise after merchandise for the next upcoming holiday. It seems, to me, the world is focused on making money, and giving and getting gifts that the true meaning of special holidays is almost completely hidden. For example, Christmas is the most stressful part of the year for most Americans. This is due in large part of their focus on the material. Peace for holidays comes from focusing on what you have that money cannot buy.
This holiday, Valentine's day, is a great place to start, if you haven't already. I have learned quite a bit, as a child, about the history of this holiday, but I have long since forgotten. I would love to go on about the history, and apply it to the attitude we ought to have concerning this holiday, but I am only human. Another example of my not being perfect, is the fact that I have not had somebody with whom I can celebrate this holiday. So, as coming from an outside view, I can, currently, remain as unbiased as possible sharing my thought on this holiday.

"And God blessed them..."
At the near end of the creation of the world, The Lord, "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2: 7) at later stated, "It is not good for man that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him..." (Genesis 2: 18) and it came to pass that, "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2: 21-24) Hence God created, "... male and female created he them. And God blessed them and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth...'" (Genesis 1: 27-28; punctuation modernized) When they were in this sacred garden together. They were given three commandments: 1.) to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which was given by God prior to the creation of Eve (Genesis 2: 17); 2.) Multiply and "fill" (as Hebrew says) the earth, which was given by God after the two were sealed (Genesis 1: 28); and 3.) not to be without one another. This concern was brought forth by God, but ultimately was given by the mouth of Adam, God's first prophet (Genesis 2: 24).
We are quite familiar with this story, the serpent "beguiles" Eve, and she falls into temptation then partakes of the fruit (Genesis 3: 6). Thus breaking the commandment God gave to Adam and qualifying her to be kicked out of God's presence, and out of the Garden. Hence, Adam was now given an ultimatum: Transgress one law, and fulfill two, or break two laws, and fulfill one. There could be no compromise. He had to choose, as she handed him the fruit. His decision became the most important gift he could give her, the best valentine. He partook, and qualified for the same consequences she had: being kicked out of the garden of Eden with her. The fact he decided to remain with his wife is of important significant for us. We can learn from this example. Sure there are times when the road get rough. Will we remain with our significant other? Or leave them? As Adam chose to stay with his dear wife, they received the chance at true and complete happiness (Moses 5: 10-11). A later descendent taught, "And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2: 22-25)

Adam chose to remain with Eve.
This pattern of intimate human relationships, between husband and wife, is based off of the eternal pattern which was established in heaven. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, "All human beings--male and female--are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents..."
The kind of love Adam had for Eve is the love we strive for with our significant other. President Henry B. Erying shared a story from his life exemplifying this principle:

"My father and my mother were very different from each other. My mother was a singer and an artist. My father loved chemistry. Once at a symphony concert, my mother was surprised when my father stood up and began to leave before the applause began. My mother asked him where he was going. His response was, in all innocence: 'Well, it’s over, isn’t it?' Only the gentle influence of the Holy Ghost got him there with her in the first place and brought him back to concerts time and time again.
"My mother lived in New Jersey for 16 years so that my father could support the family by doing research and teaching chemistry. To her it was a sacrifice being separated from her widowed mother and her unmarried sister, who had cared for her in the old family farmhouse. They both died while Mother was far away in New Jersey. Those were the only times I ever saw my mother cry.
"Years later my father was offered a job in Utah. He asked my mother, again in all innocence, 'Mildred, what do you think I should do?'
"She said, 'Henry, do whatever you think is best.'
"He turned down the offer. The next morning she wrote him a letter that I wish I still had. I remember that she told him, 'Don’t open it here. Go to the office and open it there.' It began with a rebuke. He had promised her years before that if he ever could, he would take her to be near her family. He was surprised by her expression of irritation. He had not remembered the desire of her heart. He immediately sent a message accepting the job offer.
"He said, 'Mildred, why didn’t you tell me?'
"She said, 'You were supposed to remember.'
"He always spoke of that choice to move to Utah as his own, never as a sacrifice of his professional career. They had received the miracle of becoming one. It would have been better if Dad had been reminded by the Holy Ghost of the promise he had made years earlier. But he did allow the Holy Ghost to soften his heart so that her choice became his."

If you have a significant other, do your best to express your appreciation for them. Yet, there are many on this holiday who don't have somebody with whom to share this day. They are single, and there is an attitude of calling it, "Singles Awareness Day." This holiday does not need to be "SAD." There is an invitation Elder Quintin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gives to you. He said this past conference, "Some young people profess their goal is to be married in the temple but do not date temple-worthy individuals. To be honest, some don’t even date, period! You single men, the longer you remain single after an appropriate age and maturity, the more comfortable you can become. But the more uncomfortable you ought to become! Please get "anxiously engaged" in spiritual and social activities compatible with your goal of a temple marriage." In order to have the most accurate choice for eternity, the idea of "dating" was formed. There are many people from whom we can choose. In other words, "There are plenty of fish in the sea." The sacred ordinance of marriage was the first ordinance God had established on the earth. As a result, each of us has a desire to find an eternal companion, and ought to strive to fulfill it. President Thomas S. Monson taught, "Choose your love; love your choice."

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