One day last summer, I went out to our raspberry patch and made a shocking discovery. For the first time, I noticed that in between the raspberry canes, there were small white flowers poking their heads above the bushes. At first glance, these blossoms seemed harmless and beautiful.
When I looked underneath the bushes, however, I could see they were choking the raspberry canes. I discovered the flowers had slender vines that had wrapped themselves around the canes like a deadly snake. I got on my knees and tried to pry them apart and tear them out. It was hard work, but I managed to free many of them. For others, the raspberry canes were already dead with the tendrils firmly attached. Those canes easily pulled out of the earth while the vine still clung stubbornly to them. I tried pulling apart one piece of the vine to see how strong it was, and I had a difficult time breaking it.
A Parable of Warning
I felt the Spirit witness that this was a significant lesson for me. An impression came to me as I looked at the tightly wound vines around the canes: this is the way Satan brings us slowly and unaware into bondage. This is a “type” in that, on the surface, these flowers were attractive, yet below the leaves and berries there was a deadly trap. I felt this spiritual experience was a personal warning—a wake-up call for me to be wary of the wiles and cunning deceit of the adversary.
I received a sure witness that summer day that the Saviour is the only one who can truly set us free when Satan has us in bondage. Jesus can show us our weaknesses through the Holy Ghost. This helps us to repent and turn away from our sins. We must pray in meekness and sincerity for Christ’s help.
A couple of days later, I ministered to an elderly lady in our ward whom I often visited. I shared my experience with her as a spiritual message. She said she knew of the tiny white flowers in my raspberry patch, and she told me their name, which I didn’t know before. She told me they were called, “the bindweed.” The name made me all the more convinced that the Holy Ghost had manifested this warning to me.
I now call this spiritual experience: “The Parable of the Bindweed.” The lessons I have learned have had a profound influence on me to continually check my course and “stay on the covenant path” (“President Russell M. Nelson: Choosing the Path of Love,” New Era, Mar. 2018). I need to watch for and root out indications of heart-hardening, stubbornness, pride, anger, laziness, etc. This straight and narrow path is well lighted by living prophets, apostles, and other consecrated leaders who are continually teaching us correct principles and are examples of faithfulness. They witness of the Savior’s love guiding us back to our heavenly home.
Paying Attention to Spiritual Alarms
Elder W Craig Zwick, an emeritus member of the Seventy, in his general conference talk taught, “When we pay attention to spiritual ‘alarms’ that signal a need for course correction or a larger eternal perspective, we are receiving the sacramental promise to have His [Christ’s] spirit with us” (“Lord, Wilt Thou Cause That My Eyes May Be Opened,” Ensign, Nov. 2017). I want to have the guidance of the Holy Spirit more than anything in my life.
The Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families study course has inspired me to study the scriptures more faithfully and in depth. I love the introduction of each lesson that invites us to write down the “impressions of the spirit” that come through prayerful preparation. I feel assured that personal revelation is abundant in these lessons, and that ‘the eyes of our understanding will be opened” if we are seeking truth.
Each day, I liken the Book of Mormon to myself. I want to avoid the hard-heartedness exemplified by Laman and Lemuel. Instead, I strive to embrace the commitment, obedience, and faithfulness of Lehi, Nephi, Jacob and other exemplars of righteousness. I watch more closely for the “spiritual alarms” that warn of temptations that will bind us to the adversary. If we follow the Savior, keep on the covenant path, and pray for his spirit to be our constant companion, we will “come off conqueror” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5).