The Law of the Harvest: Planting Seeds of Faith

The Law of the Harvest: Planting Seeds of Faith

Bennett Borden, North Star President

September is the first month when we begin transitioning from summer into fall, and this time of year often calls to mind the seasons and cycles of life.  When God organized this wonderful Earth and placed it in its station, He established these seasons and cycles to teach us that there are times of rebirth and new growth, of planting and tending, of reaping and harvesting, and of quiet resting and recharging. As we move into this season of harvest, I have been thinking a lot about the law of the harvest, and in reaping what we sow.

 

Nearly six years ago, Becky and I first considered returning to the gospel after having lived for more than 20 years in an openly gay lifestyle.  We both longed for the peace and joy of the gospel, but were terrified of the process of coming back, and even more terrified of how we could live according to gospel principles.  There seemed to be so many obstacles in our way, and the distance we would have to traverse seemed unbearably far. How in the world could we do it?

 

About this time, we were reading in the Book of Mormon, and came upon Alma 32.  This is the sermon where Alma compares the word of God to a seed. He says that if we make room in our hearts by simply having the desire to believe, that the word will grow and swell, it will enlarge our souls, enlighten our understanding, and become delicious to us.  Alma 32:28.

 

When we read this, the spirit touched my heart deeply, and I knelt down and prayed.  I told the Lord I had no idea how we were ever going to make it back, and I wasn’t sure I believed that we could, but at least I had the desire to believe.  And, most importantly, I told Him I trusted Him, and would do whatever it took to come back.  I will never forget the peace that poured over my soul during this prayer. I saw the path back to the gospel shrink down from this long and arduous road to just a series of small choices, one tiny step at a time.  That, I could do.

 

I look back over the years since that pivotal moment and see the great spiritual harvest that has come from planting that tiny, quivering seed of faith.  Becky and I were rebaptized, my blessings were restored, we were sealed in the temple, we adopted an amazing daughter, and our lives are filled with thousands upon thousands of precious experiences working with the LDS SSA/LGBT saints, their families, friends and leaders.  Our lives are full to bursting with the harvest of tiny seeds of faith we and you have planted along the way.

 

My dear brothers and sisters, we SSA/LGBT saints have been blessed with a truly unique earthly experience.  We have been blessed with a capacity for strength, love, empathy and understanding that is sorely needed in building the kingdom of God and reaching into the far corners of His vineyard.  Sometimes this path may seem hard and to traverse untrod and unproven ground. Sometimes we may not even believe we will make it.

 

But, we have the Lord’s promise that even if we don’t believe today, if we only desire to believe, and plant a tiny seed of faith, nourishing it along the way, it will grow.  And, we will pluck the fruit which is most precious, reaping the reward of our faith. Alma 32: 42-43. May the Lord continue to bless you on your path, and may your harvest of faith be rich and abundant.

 

Share Your #TrueToHim Story

Share Your #TrueToHim Story

Nearly two years ago, a new story project was announced at the annual North Star Conference – #TrueToHim. Those in attendance were excited at the prospect of compiling the stories of fellow travelers along the road to reconcile sexual orientation and gender identity with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal of that project was to invite as many as were willing to “join a growing chorus of voices and ‘cloud of witnesses’ (Hebrews 12:1) -witnessing and testifying of the Savior, the power of His atonement, and the truthfulness of His church and the prophetic guidance of those who lead it.”

Many attendees sat in front of the camera to talk about how they were striving to be true to our Savior and the covenants they have made. While many voices were collected at that time, there are countless other individuals, living their lives courageously and quietly, making decisions on a day-to-day basis that are bringing them closer to their Father in Heaven by way of His holy Son.

North Star continues to be a place to share your voices. Some may choose to be public in their story while others will speak in confidential forums. Others still will hold these stories close to their hearts. No matter where our stories sound, they can be powerful sources of strength and testimony.

This month, you will find across the various forms of social media topical questions and quotes related to the #TrueToHim project meant to inspire, encourage, and build each other. Our voices can unite and ignite a fire that will light the way for those who are in the midst of their darkest moments, when fear threatens to win.

President Hinckley offered this blessing: “May God bless us all with the peace that comes from Him. May He bless us with thankful hearts and with the will to mingle together with respect one for another, uniting our efforts to the blessing of the communities where we are fortunate to live.”

We invite you to visit TrueToHim.org to listen and read these stories. If you would like to add your voice to this collection, visit the TrueToHim.org for information on how to do so.

#TrueToHim: Share Your Story

#TrueToHim: Share Your Story

Joseph Stith

Joseph Stith

President

At the very heart of the North Star community experience is the real and intensely personal, individual story. I’m certain all of us have been moved and encouraged by reading and viewing impactful stories that helped us realize we are not alone! Can you recall how your hope and faith was touched when you saw these powerful segments for the first time? For me, not unlike you I’m sure, I binge watched all night, gladly sacrificing sleep and shedding many tears.

I’m excited to announce that we begin a new chapter here at North Star by introducing a theme each month to focus our efforts in growing together in unity and purpose. In deciding how to begin, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to introduce this new effort than with the theme #TrueToHim. Our desires to serve, and our motivation behind all that we do in building this community is centered most in our desire to be true to Jesus Christ.

#TrueToHim is more than a project. It’s the very reason we’re here. Why are you true to Him? What story deep in your heart needs to be shared with others on their journey?
What would you say of your own personal experience that may inspire another as you have been?

Want to learn more about participating? Visit https://northstarlds.org/truetohim/share-your-journey for details.

2018 will be the greatest year ever for North Star International and we look forward to meeting all of you very soon – on video, in writing, and at the Conference in March! (Conference.NorthStarLDS.org -> Early bird rates expire January 28!)

Happy New Year!

With a Grateful Heart

With a Grateful Heart

Joseph Stith

Joseph Stith

President

I began my journey just prior to the first North Star Conference in 2014. Filled with hope, I purchased 2 tickets before my wife of 30 years even knew -about …me.  I remember the overwhelming fear and anxiety replaced with deep gratitude for the people of North Star that had sacrificed so much in building this community.  A place filled with love and hope that would impact our lives as much as the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself.  North Star is truly the Gospel in action.

We know Thanksgiving and Christmas to be seasons of gratitude and giving back.  I wish everyone could see how much time and effort goes into making just one North Star event possible. Today, there are multiple exciting events now being planned or close to completion.

North Star is expanding our capacity to serve at a ridiculous pace!  A new website suite, the relaunch of Voices of Hope, new and reorganized, searchable content… and that’s just some of the efforts we’re engaged in to bless lives. The upcoming Fireside and the 2018 Conference are massive undertakings now in full swing and we’re always in need of more volunteers.

Those of you who have been blessed by North Star as we have, are likely feeling the desire to give back. Please know how very much we need you. Prayerfully consider what degree of sacrifice is appropriate given your blessings.  Giving Tuesday is one opportunity to give financially in helping us make these expansions possible. The Donor page will show you how many ways you can help us bless more lives.  At North Star, the season of giving is continuous and contagious.  May you catch the spirit of giving and be filled with gratitude all through the year.

From all of us here at North Star, we love you, we thank you, and we pray that you will always find peace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.