It’s a known fact to everyone who has ever tried my Mom’s chocolate chip or molasses cookies that they are the best cookies ever created by the hands of a mortal. Like Frodo’s sword that glowed blue when there were Orks near, I seemed to have the ability as a kid to detect and sense when there was cookie dough near. Suddenly, like a Duck’s instinctive and unstoppable urge to fly south for the winter I was drawn to the kitchen to eat as much dough as I could before being shooed or forced out. Unfortunately, so were all my siblings. We all arrived within moments clamoring like the seagulls on “Finding Nemo” for a bite (or handful) of cookie dough. Each of us like moths drawn to a flame pretended (or didn’t even pretend) to want to “help prepare” the dough although we all had the same obvious ulterior motives in mind to consume as much dough as possible.

Her cookies were always delicious… except this one time.

I came home to cookies already prepared. I saw that there were about 30 on the plate and naturally planned to eat them all before anyone else saw them. So, I poured a tall glass of milk, and dipped the cookie. I took my first bite expecting a euphoric cookie experience. “crunch”. Peanut? No. Cashew? No. Brazil nut? No. Almond? No. What was this? Uh oh… oh no…. that’s when my mind processed the taste and texture. Walnut! Barf city! I felt I had been duped, had, deceived, tricked, cheated and played. I felt I had been violated as had my taste buds. Yes, the harvest had come and the wheat had not been separated from the tares. I was so upset that I only ate like 17 of the 30 cookies… Yeah, I showed her.

Is this post entirely about whether or not it’s a sin to include walnuts in cookies? No, because we all know it pretty much is. This post is about SEPARATING the walnuts from the cookies… or in more scriptural reference, separating the tares from the wheat.

We all live in the same world. We are all brothers and sisters yet there is turmoil and injustice everywhere. We are aware of the morals and standards of the world that are in such rapid decline its unreal! There is civil unrest, wars, and rumors of war throughout the world. There is so much extortion, violence, murder, theft, dishonestly and breaking of the Sabbath day that it’s treated mundanely and violated so routinely it’s as if there were never commandments against them! The messages portrayed as socially acceptable are mind boggling. The lyrics and messages in music, media, tv shows, and movies today is absolutely unbelievable and seems to be numbing us as a culture to evil itself. It attempts to bombard us until our acceptance of evil reaches a higher teir, only then to repeat that cycle indefinitely. Maybe this is what it means to live in the world, but not be of the world. We must draw our line, because the world will not! It seems we as a people have reached and will continue to push the limits of “anything goes”. This world is very ripe and It seems it truly is time for the harvest. Are we prepared? To further Colby’s message in his last post, If it were in the scriptures we would read somewhere in Moroni where he would have said “Checketh thyself, before thou wrecketh thyself”.

Whether we like it or not, the walnuts will be separated from the cookies, and the tares from the wheat. Hopefully we’re excited about that day. However, the question is: Are we really ready for it? Are we made up of pure delicious cookie, or do we still have walnuts that we need to address and eliminate? If that’s the case, the day is today, the time is now, we can’t afford to procrastinate!

It’s time for a self examination. Right here, right now. What are we made of? Really, when we look deep into ourselves, what are we made of? Are we fully and truly and deeply converted in this Gospel? Are we going to Church because we ourselves desire it? Do we really want to or are we going through the motions because your parents, or spouse wants you to? Are we trying to improve ourselves each day? Are we truly seeking to be more like our Savior? Or… are we as Colby worded it “comfortably complacient?” Are we stuck in cruise control without much thought? Are we hollow and made of words vs made of actions?

It’s time for a wake up call. This sifting process is not separating Members and non members. Not at all! This is separating our hearts, our intents, our desires and who we truly are. God is no respecter of persons and just because we go to Church or just because we have a recommend that doesn’t guarantee our safety. Does it help? Of course!… if we are truly converted! Just being a member isn’t good enough anymore. Just showing up isn’t good enough anymore. Being a “hearer of the word” isn’t good enough anymore! Was it ever good enough? We need to be “doers of the word” also. It seems the time has come to make sure we are deeply rooted into the Gospel of Christ so when the storm comes we will not be torn from our place. We need to be strong and ready.

I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I haven’t done myself, and what’s helped me a ton is very simple. Right now, grab your phone and read the lyrics to the child’s song “If the Savior stood beside me”. Read through it a couple times. Better yet, memorize the chorus. Now, go through 1 entire day with those lyrics constantly in your mind. Think of those lyrics before you made a decision. How would that change your patterns, habits, language, demeanor or thought processes? Would it alter your music choices or entertainment choices? Would it affect what you watch, or do? Would it effect how you parent? How would you change? What would you change?

This post is not to offend others or to elude to myself being superior or perfect. Ha! We all know that’s not true. This is a simple method that has helped me through the years refine myself as I continue to define myself as a follower of Christ. To show my Savior that I know he is my Salvation and my way. That He is my compass. To show him that I not only believe, but also KNOW that fact. To not only say but to also DO those things which I should. To make and continue to make the necessary changes in my life to rid myself of “walnuts” so when the harvest comes, I am as prepared as I can be. Of course you and I will continually have to rely on the Atonement. That’s why it’s there. Use it, don’t abuse it, and let’s decide to make ourselves better every day. Starting Now!