The Confundus Curse and My Inaugural Talk…

9:00 p.m.
Who thought it was funny to give a bookworm convert her very first Sacrament Meeting talk the same week the magnum opus of one Mr. Harry Potter was released? Who. My Bishop, that’s who. And due to total lack of discipline and complete disregarded for my own goals, here I sit, 9:13 on Saturday night, no talk, a pile of notes, some e-mails and a thoroughly ingested, already dog-eared copy of The Deathly Hallows. Priorities, eh.

My talk was supposed to be spring boarded from a talk by President Faust from 2004- along the lines of making sure we’re getting the right spiritual messages. Yeah, I spent the last few days chewing my cuticles as I wondered where Neville got the Sword of Gryffindor at the very last possible minute, and wondering “Why Dobby, why?”- I think I missed the message…

It’s not the first time I’ve missed the message.

Long before I became a member of this Church, when I was practically still a girl- I met my husband. I was 17, he was 22- and according to him, it was love at first sight. I felt it too, but this was one of those times I missed the message. We did become fast and best friends, but never dated. The first time he proposed to me, I was 19-and just didn’t get that this could possibly be the love of my life. The second time, I was 24- and very wrapped up in my career- and still didn’t get the message.

Finally, when I was 27 and he was 32, I had walked out on a particularly disastrous date with yet another “wrong” man- and was on my way home when a Bob Dylan song came on the radio. Mulling over the questions “Why are so many of the guys I date such a waste of time? Why does this always go wrong? Why can’t I find someone more like David?” Mr. Dylan’s lyrics penetrated my fog. Ah-hah! It seems so simple looking back- almost comically so- but it took me ten years to get that the Lord already had given me my husband, had placed him right in front of me, and nothing in my life was going to work out until I got that message. We were married only a few months later, and finally getting that one message has been the linchpin of my life.

It makes me wonder how many messages I’ve missed, how many beautiful things I may have bulldozed over because I was more interested in my own plan than in listening to the Lord. What can we do to cultivate inspiration in our lives? How do we distinguish between our own sometimes selfish impulses and the voice of the Spirit?

Moses got to talk to the burning bush.- that was pretty clear. But it seems the Lord has only chosen once to address his servant thus- mostly he still uses, as he did in the time of Elijah, the still small voice. This can be hard to accept, and even to recognize- especially so if we are hoping for a burning in the bosom, or a heart afire.

11:40 p.m. The kitchen is calling me and I must have some icy cold lemonade and a small taste of the Cheetos I bought for the kids.

I time myself, and I’m nowhere near the 10 minutes. *sigh*

When I first joined this Church almost five years ago, I had really learned my lesson with not listening in regard to choosing my husband, so when I walked in, and felt the Spirit, I knew I was home. But- even then, even after I was baptized and became a Later Day Saint, against the wishes of my entire family and almost everyone I knew, I was still waiting for those stones to glow, for the shaft of light, for Nephi to show up so that I could proclaim that “I knew!”. It never happened.

It never had to happen.

The Lord had a different plan- while I was waiting on Moroni to show up and chat in my room at night, the Lord was bursting open that tiny mustard seed in my heart, and a that mustard seed brought with it miracles. One of the miracles is that the still small voice “whispereth through and pierceth all things” it’s there- the voice of the Lord is always there. If there is a problem with the reception, rest assured, it’s mine.

President Faust says “Messages come to us individually and directly from a divine source and though our presiding officer in the Church.” Twice a year we have the supernal gift of hearing our living prophet and apostles address us as a people. These wise and inspired counselors are giving us roadmaps of how to progress and how to hear the still small voice. They are giving us, in Technicolor, the message.

We all know what we need to do be inspired. Even my Sunbeam can rattle off the simple things- say our prayers, read our scriptures, be kind, follow the commandments. As adults, sometimes we get sidetracked and confounded by the very simplicity of this plan… But it must be harder than that, right?

Seek to build the kingdom of God. Take a personal stand in this life. Strengthen and safeguard our families. Walk righteously and humbly before the Lord. Be honest. When we do these things, we are preparing ourselves to hear the still small voice, we are opening ourselves to inspiration.- we are being obedient to God.

12:17 a.m. It’s all starting to be incoherent. Bed sounds really, really divine. I can get up at 5 a.m. before the house wakes up and finish, right? Sure I can!

7:27 a.m. What!? Why did you let me sleep so late!? And why on Earth, this of all days, do the kids sleep past 6 a.m.? Flying down the stairs, here I sit, empty stomach, bags under my eyes, no one ready for church- and a stellar talk. Whoo. Hoo. The irony does not escape me.

So here I sit. Church starts in an hour. I think I may finally be a real Mormon.


  1. Did you miss this post on “How to Give a Sacrament Meeting Talk: An Open Letter to Converts”?

  2. Simply wonderful. If you can deliver your talk with as much spirit is this fun blog post, then you are golden.

  3. Tracy,
    I am assuming that this is your talk. If so, it is perfect!

  4. Just out of curiousity, what was the inspirational Bob Dylan song?

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, this blog post itself would make an excellent talk in its own right; I hope with John C. that is your plan.

    In any event, please let us know how it turned out!

  6. What a great talk. Thanks, Tracy.

  7. Tracy: The sorting hat.

  8. When I typed the last line, I realized that I had my talk. This is pretty much it, and it went off fabulously, I think. At least that was the feedback.

    The song was this:

    So the sorting hat can pull the Sword from thin air?

  9. Reread the last couple of chapters of Chamber of Secrets — that’s how Harry gets it the first time around . . .

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Congratulations, Tracy! You’re no longer a sacrament talk virgin; after five years, it’s about time. Your talk was absolutely terrific.

  11. Steve Evans says:

    Way to go, Tracy. We’re proud of you!

  12. John Williams says:

    This was a good post (even though you are apparently a Harry Potter fan) and would make a great sacrament meeting talk.

    I like personal stories in talks… it makes them more interesting.

  13. Thanks, Tracy. For some reason I like the phrase “moral clarity” as describing how I experience the spirit. A sense of seeing through the haze rather than of glowing stones or well-muscled angels.

    Great talk.

  14. Great Talk, Tracy. My youngest son is struggling right now with why his prayers aren’t always answered, and you’ve reminded me of some very important things. I’ll use some of your thoughts for a springboard to discuss in FHE tonight.

    Thank you.

  15. Awesome talk! Reading this post made my day! I’ve been a member all my life and the level of originality and personal insight that’s in this post is something that I strive for every time I give a talk or a lesson!

  16. Tracy,

    Wonderful words- you have a gift for writing, and thank you for sharing.

    As our family also enjoys Harry Potter, I would revise JW’s post #12 to say …especially because you are a Harry Potter fan…

  17. p.s. I admire your husband’s patience and persistence!

  18. Tracy, my 19-year-old son said to tell you that you are his hero – both for the first two paragraphs and the title.