Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jan 24: Hello

[This must have been an odd week for me. Given the sobering nature of the rest of the post, I will post these pictures (I have a lot of silly ones I'd like to share, but later).
Top: A sunset out our window in our classroom. We spend as much as 12 hours a day in this same classroom, studying scriptures, gospel principles, language, and teaching skills, as well as practicing teaching, speaking, and so forth. This little room dominated our lives' scenery, so I was very aware of differences or beauty in it, like this sunset.
Bottom: We all drew plans of salvation. This is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the LDS church or the Mormons. It is described in more detail later in my mission.]

It has been made known to me that some of you believe my answers to your questions were unsatisfactory or non-existent. I do not have a list of these questions. I have answered most of them in the limited time I am allowed, but I haven't time to answer them all at once. If you would like to ask a question, sent it to me or my folks, and I'll do my best to answer it. But I cannot promise a speedy delivery of the answer, for which I am sad.

Then, there are two things that hit me pretty hard this week. The first is that I am not thankful enough. I was fairly discouraged by my apparent lack of progress in Latvian and the gospel this week, but as I reflect back I can truly see how I have been blessed, and that I have grown a good deal. Due to this, and the fact that it was made pretty clear to me that I will not and cannot receive further light without acknowledging that which I already have, and treasuring what I have received, I have re-organized my study journal and spent a good deal of time accounting for my usage of the Lord's time.

The second big hit this week was of the power of the Book of Mormon. There is no way that any person can read that volume of holy writ without feeling the power and influence of God coursing through them. I promise to all, and as an ordained direct representative of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself I am authorized to extend promises of this nature as moved by the Spirit, that if you will read this volume of scripture, even the first book, you will feel God's Spirit in some way or another. You will feel His love, His peace, His grace. There is no way that you cannot feel the Spirit if you will but read the book, honestly seeking to know of it's truthfulness. It is not just some commentary on the Bible, it is not a book written by a man. It is God's direct words to us today. For us personally. It was not written for those who were alive at the time of its writing. It was written for us. And as such it caters to our needs directly. It testifies of God and the divinity of Christ our Lord from the title page all the way through to the end of Moroni. It is powerful scripture, given directly from God through His chosen mouthpiece Joseph Smith. To this man God gave the power and authority to act in His name, and to no other organization of earth is this power extended. Using that authority and power (together known as the Priesthood), Joseph brought forth the truths of God's kingdom, the reality and power of Jesus Christ's atonement, and its significance to us. The way was shown more clearly than ever before. This is contained in this book, the Book of Mormon. To all who read this I issue a powerful, sincere, and well-thought out witness that the Book of Mormon contains the most powerful testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ to exist in writing anywhere. The might of the book can clearly, easily, and powerfully be felt by any honest seeker of God. I would strongly encourage each reader of this note to find the gifts in that book for themselves. It has brought millions to Christ, and can draw you closer to God regardless of your religion or current beliefs.

Upon this book rests all we stand for as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This book is proof that God speaks to mankind today. It is concrete, solid, indisputable evidence of God's love for us. If you come to know this book, you will come to know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You will know that He is the maker of heaven and earth, and all things therein. You will know that Jesus is our Saviour and Redeemer. You will know that only by fallowing Christ's gospel can we be accounted worthy before God to enter into his presence, and to become one with Him and Christ.

Finally, if you know your Bible even a little, you will appreciate the Book of Mormon all the more. One suggestion for understanding that is this: The Holy Ghost bears witness to us that God is the Father, that Christ is our Saviour. The Father and Son are the source. The Holy Ghost testifies of Them, and of anything true said about Them. The Bible is a record of Christ. It is filled with magnificent doctrines and truths of God's kingdom. It is the testimony of God and Christ. The Book of Mormon serves as a witness of that testimony--it is, in a sense, the Holy Ghost for the Bible in that it confirms it and makes it even easier to believe. It testifies of the truths found therein, and supports all God has spoken throughout time. One of the greatest benefits of the Book of Mormon is that is is simple to understand on the surface. The truths of God are laid out in a way easy to understand, and hard to confuse. Nephi, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, stated that "[his] soul delights in plainness," that the hearer may clearly understand. That is how the book is laid out. Plain, simple truths of God, easily accessible to all.

[Please don't come to read the Book of Mormon assuming that you know everything there is to know about God. Nobody knows everything that there is to know about Him. We are always learning. If you come to this book with the thought that you will learn from the Spirit of God directly, then you cannot be lead astray, and you will be open to all the truth in the book, and you will be aware of any nontruths, because the Spirit will let you know what is and is not true. Trust God and His spirit, and you will be able to know what comes from Him. Do not rely in man...God condemns that so many times in the Bible that you'd think it would happen less, but it doesn't. People trust everything their preacher says without praying about it, and they assume that they can just attend church on Sunday, and then not think much about God for the rest of the week and that will be enough. Sorry, but that's not how things work. Come, and see what its like to learn from the Lord directly. Or, to continue doing that. You will receive only good from accepting this challenge to read.]

I want all to know that I know with surety that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He loves us deeply, even more than we can comprehend. Our Heavenly Father loves us even more than does Christ, and weeps with us during our hard times, as does Christ. I know that revelation is not a thing of the past. I have experienced direct revelation from God countless times throughout my life. I know that the priesthood is truly God's authority and power on this Earth. I testify to the world, as an ordained missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that prophets are alive today and head God's church. They deliver His messages of strength and His commandments to the world today. The head of these modern-day apostles is Gordon B. Hinckley. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God to us today. I know the power of the Holy Ghost is true. I know that Christ lives, and that He is our advocate with the Father. I know that you are loved by God. I know you are known by him personally. Seek Him, I implore will all my soul!

Elders Ārgails

No comments: