My professors and friends had all said that Mt. Sinai was one of the highlights of the entire program. One of my friends even took the time to write up several pages of what to expect, general advice, and specific things to. One of the things he mentioned was his Sinai experience: he had prepared for it by reading several passages about Moses' life, including some from the Pearl of Great Price. I had planned to read about the receiving of the 10 commandments, but I decided to start with the same chapters he had read.
The question that I was going to the Lord in prayer and study for was about what career path I should pursue. In the spirit of full disclosure, I thought for sure last year that I was going to be a seminary teacher... but I did not get chosen in the final stages of the process (and once you don't make it, the 'no' is basically final: they said I could try again only after waiting 30 years—no joke)... and I have been *frustrated* with this question ever since. I had been thinking and searching and praying for almost a full year and had yet to receive any concrete answers (at least that I recognized as such...), and in my carnal indignation I doubted that this could be any different. I hadn't read four full verses until that completely changed and I knew that this would not be an ordinary study session. The words “look, and I will show thee” (Moses 1:4) jumped out at me from off the page. At once I got on my knees and prayed to thank Heavenly Father for the spirit I was feeling (and because I had decided earlier that I would pray before and after reading the scriptures and had forgotten to begin with a prayer) and to ask that He consecrate my study for my edification and the glory of His kingdom. I got up and read the rest of the chapter and well into the next few chapters. It was weird: I was thoroughly enjoying my time in the scriptures and feeling edified, but no specific thoughts were yet coming. At the end my study, I said another prayer and felt a distinct impression that I should re-read Moses chapter 1 while on Mount Sinai. So I packed my scriptures in my bag for the next day and went to bed.
The hike the next day was not nearly as challenging as some had made it out to be, but it still demanded enough of me that I was sweating when I reached the top. We deliberately left very early (2:30 AM!) so that we would be to the top before sunrise. We still had quite a bit of time before the sun came up, and so we all talked and sang hymns together. When the proverbial moment arrived, I was SO excited (my fellow participants would affably impersonate my reaction later...): it. Was. Breathtaking. It renewed my conviction of not only a Creator, but of the joy that comes from appreciating the simple splendor of nature. My gracious friends let me take several pictures of the scene with their cameras, and we all took pictures together. I was so enveloped in it all, that I temporarily forgot about the task that was set apart for me to do. But we hadn't been up there too long since the sunrise, so I set about to find a place to study. As I sat down, though, our teacher announced that we needed to be heading back down for the group devotional: It was time to leave. I could not believe what I was hearing! I was under the impression that we were going to spend a good amount of the morning at the top of the mountain... this was way shorter than I expected. So I made a decision when prompted to join the others down the mountain, I began packing up my things... but then told the last student that I would catch up later: I had something I needed to do. Surprisingly, she didn't react by trying to change my mind. She wished me good luck and told me where they would be stopping.
I opened my scriptures, said a prayer, and began to read. Moses 1 isn't a long chapter, but I read it slowly, deliberately. Just as had happened at first yesterday, phrases began just jumping out at me. I wrote down every phrase in a little notepad, and then felt prompted that I needed to rejoin my group—quickly (plus I had forgotten where to meet at!). I rushed down the mountain... hoping to see the iconic blue backpacks or red and green water bottle carriers. Fortunately, after several minutes (but more than long enough to feel nervous), I had caught up with those lagging behind and stopped at the right place in the trail with everyone else. I did not receive my answer immediately, but I felt a distinct impression that my piece of notepad paper held the key to my question. I have reread that chapter and looked at that piece of paper probably over a dozen times now, and I really think I have an answer. It is not quite as specific as I would like, but for once, I really feel good about something. I feel that I have been given a mission statement from Heavenly Father. As I mentioned, there were 20 phrases I wrote down, and I think they all have to do with the path of my life, but Moses 1:26 definitely holds the most penetrating and staying power. It says “thou shalt deliver my people from bondage.”
At first, I thought that this being my mission statement was being a little assuming and self-important... this was Moses we're talking about. But the more I thought and prayed about it, the more—I believe—the Lord was speaking to me through him. I genuinely think this is the answer to my prayer. As I've pondered that phrase... thoughts have come to me such that I think my mission in life has to do directly with 'delivering people' from incorrect thinking—the bondage of approaching life with a distorted or unhealthy view of the world (again, I feel like I'm being a bit presumptuous, but I am honestly just relating what I've felt!). I still don't know exactly where that mission statement is pointing me to go, but now at least I have a stick by which to measure my options. Maybe (though this has classically been lower in my hierarchy of considerations, but higher recently) psychology—it deals with thinking and people, right? I find things like the fundamental attribution error and the spotlight effect intensely interesting, and I truly think that once people are made aware of such tendencies, they can compensate for them—and therefore think and live more happily... hmm...