This summer, my daughter went to girls' camp. The stake leaders asked each ward to be a tribe, and to choose a name for their tribe that most fit their goals. Our ward chose to be "The Tribe of the Unashamed," taken from this quote:
"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed, will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the case of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me and when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me”. - Author Unknown, quoted by Elder Henry B. Eyring
When I first heard this quote, a thrill shot through me and enlivened me. We live in a time where it's so easy to ride the fence, to keep our beliefs a little quiet, to not call attention to ourselves. Peer pressure is stronger than ever before, and where we used to think of it as a teenage thing, it's something we face no matter what age we are. I was so glad that my daughter got to spend a whole week learning what it means to believe fully, whole-heartedly, and then to not be ashamed of those beliefs.
Today I had the opportunity to do some reading about the Prophet Joseph Smith. It absolutely never fails - the Spirit always testifies to me that he was truly a prophet of God, that the words he taught us are true, and that he died as a martyr to seal up his testimony of Heavenly Father's plan. I've had the chance to walk the streets of Nauvoo and sense what it would have been like to be there during Joseph's time, and felt the incredible power associated with a group of Saints, living together in harmony under the leadership of an inspired prophet. I dearly love the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I can't express enough how grateful I am to have the testimony of him that I have.
I'm so grateful to be led by a modern prophet today. Thomas S. Monson is a very familiar face to me, having held many key church positions throughout my lifetime. I know he comes to us at this time having been prepared by God for many years for this role, and I look at him with absolute faith and confidence that he will lead us in the ways God wants us led.
I am also deeply grateful for the knowledge I have that our Heavenly Father is truly watching over us with love and concern, and that He wants us to return to Him in His kingdom someday. I can't measure the gratitude I feel when I think about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the sacrifices made by both Father and Son to bring about that incredible blessing in our lives, if we will but just accept it. I have felt the comfort and the forgiveness and the assurance of the Lord in my life so many times, and I depend on it like nothing else.
I echo the sentiment expressed above: "The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still." I also echo the scripture found in Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ."
How could I ever be ashamed of something I believe with all my heart?