Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

Hey Everyone,
   This week was solid. We had a good amount of lessons and most of them went well. The work is definitely starting to pick up now that we have a family ward. It's nice to be tired again.
   I really enjoyed general conference. President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude was probably my favorite. I never really thought about gratitude like that. It makes sense that we should be grateful for our circumstances instead of simply for things. I guess it just never really occurred to me. Conference was also a great missionary opportunity. We were able to bring a family of three to a member's home to watch it on Sunday. When you need someone to feel the spirit, you can always count on the prophet. The mother of the family, who really had kept to herself for the most part, finally opened up and started asking questions. It was great. We are looking to get them baptized on the 26th of April.
   We also picked up a new investigator. She's an old blind woman from England. She's awesome. She has not one, but two big, red, British telephone booths inside her tiny apartment. Every time we go in she has tea on the stove as well. She's an extremely interesting woman. We are working with her towards baptism at the end of this month as well. She leaves for Britain on the 27th for a six month visit so we really can't wait any longer.
   Just like I've said before, Mesa is jam-packed with interesting people. I met one of the fifty six people ever to have flown an S71 Blackbird for the Air Force the other day. We will most likely be going over for dinner later this week so he can tell us more about it. Maybe we can teach him as well.
   I was able to have a discussion with a less active from the ward this week that really made me think. He was talking about how messed up this world is. Especially for him, a democrat living in Arizona. He talked a lot about politics and his ideas on the way things should work. It made me think about beliefs in general. Political, religious, even just every day habits. As I look around, especially as a missionary, I feel like a lot of the problems we see every day stem from ignorance, inherited beliefs, or in a most cases a combination of the two.
   As I walk around and talk to people it is not uncommon to find myself talking to someone who claims to be from another religion yet has not gone for years. They don't know when church is or even what is normally taught there. Yet because of this thin strand of so called belonging that they have to this other church, they decide that it's not worth it listen to us.
   I remember growing up I always went to church with my parents. I was a product of inherited beliefs. My thoughts were always what I was being taught, but that's the same with all of us. I remember going through high school with a knowledge of what I should believe and because of that, I acted on it and followed it's precepts. It wasn't until I decided to go on a mission that things really changed for me. I finally decided to read the Book of Mormon and to ask God if it was true. As I studied and prayed I came to know that the life I had been living was a life that God had wanted, and will to continue to want me to live.
   I wasn't ignorant. I went to other church functions, listened to what they taught, even defended my faith at a few of them. I came to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the Earth. It really is a church led by Jesus Christ. I don't think I've ever really understood the belief that you can get to heaven through any church as long as you believe in Christ. That's like saying you can pass a test by choosing any of the answers you want (even the wrong ones) as long as you believe that there's a teacher who will grade it once you're finished.
   Tests aren't like that and neither is life. Jesus Christ came to earth and organized his church. He taught us how to live and set up apostles to lead and guide the church on the correct path. It was only once they were martyred that multiple churches formed. Look at the epistles of Paul. Every one of them is him trying to rebuke and persuade people to get back on the one true path that Christ established. Once all the apostles were gone there was no one to do that and many churches formed, all with a different view of the one true church that Christ organized.
   Luckily for us, that church was restored. We are given all the answers to the test. All we have to do is look. And even if that isn't easy enough for us, Christ died so that when you still choose the wrong answer, you can erase it and fix it. There is a teacher who will grade the test once we are finished. There is only one way to pass the test. Ignorance will only hold you back from reading the answers that the teacher wants you to know. My invitation is simply to find those answers. I did and I know you can too.

   Sincerely, Elder Earl

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