I have learned so much this week!
One thing you all should read is Tad R. Callister’s "Blueprint of Christ’s Church" [https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2014/01/what-is-the-blueprint-of-christs-church?lang=eng]. Of course, it is possible to make a "house" with the right blueprint without God’s permission, but if you believe it was with God’s permission, studying this talk is cool because there are a lot of things I hadn’t thought of before. A big one was blessing children… I hadn’t ever thought of why we give babies blessings in church, so it was cool to think about how Christ blessed children.
I kind of have a vision for La Follette, and that is to build on the trust and repect that we’ve gained so far by helping unite the community in their Christian beliefs. I want to go around and invite more pastors to Wednesday morning prayer circle. I want to get to know more of the religious leaders and help us all understand each other better. Last week at prayer circle, Cormac said he thinks there will be a revolution within Mormonism soon, now that the Church is being open with it shistory, and young people will wake up and come to terms with Mormonism vs. Christianity, and it will be wonderful to turn the missionary force into the cause of mainstream Christianity. I told him he was right–there WILL be a revolution within Mormonism (already happening), and young Mormons will see clearly and candidly the history of our church and grow up with stronger testimonies with Christ as their foundation, not with men and leaders. That being said, I do believe those leaders restored the Priesthood and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I told him we could meet with him this week to talk… sent him [http://www.byutv.org/watch/90be2679-e6eb-4039-afa1-fee5477b0c20/new-day-for-the-book-of-mormon-new-day-for-the-book-of-mormon] just for fun. haha. For some reason he thinks I’m supposed to read his anti book without him looking at the stuff I sent him….
Skyler came to church!! We aren’t sure what he thought if it, it was testimony meeting after all….all I know is he was taking notes in a written language that he made up so I couldn’t even cheat and see what he was writing. We finally had a good lesson with him on Saturday. His sister Sydney who is 15 wants to start meeting with us, and she and their mom were listening in and making comments as we read through Moroni 7.
Elder Nelson visited an area of the mission this week… I didn’t see him but he did a ward council role play with the missionaries. He said "once the woman’s voice is equal with the man’s, then will this work move forward." Brother Russell Williams in our ward gave a good talk based on the talk "Are you sleeping through the Restoration?" or something like that… that the Restoration is ongoing, and we need to wake up to certain things. "Wake up and stay awake" was the title of his talk. We need to gain a testimony that the Lord has hastened His work and that the gospel has been restored but that the work isn’t done. We can’t sleep through opportunities to serve, opportunities to grow, opportunities to change. Deliberate change requires work. I’ve seen how my mission has changed as I’ve deliberately worked harder and woken up to certain things. This paragraph has like 3 different directions…but…equality plus an ongoing Restoration plus hard work are all important. haha.
I’ve thought a lot about commandments and obedience lately. Mosiah 5:7-9… is obedience a virtue? Obedience is a willingness to obey, and is a virtue because the one commanding is perfect and the things being commanded are to make us free. "Under this head (Christ) ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free." Obedience to anyone else is probably not a great kind of obedience, because anyone else isn’t perfect. God is not an arbitrary ruler, he is a loving Father who wants us to progress. We are blessed as we obey and that blessing is progression. 3 Nephi 24 talks about tithing…God says "return unto me and I will return unto you" in connection with tithing. We return by paying tithing and are blessed–or we are cursed with a curse. What curse? Anytime God says we will be blessed and saved or cursed and damned that has to do with progression. We are blessed as we pay tithing, and that blessing is progression. We learn sacrifice, trust, self-control, prioritizing wants vs. needs, and a good way to reach out to others who are in need. Or we don’t learn those things, and that is our "curse," a lack of progression. God cares about our progression, not arbitrary rules.
I will talk to you all next week! I’m excited for Blake to join me in Tennessee!! 🙂