Monday, March 29, 2010

I Testify that the Heavens are Open

First of all, for the most important news....HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!  This week you´ll be 21, how exciting!  Love and miss you

So this week is Conference.  I´m stoked!  We´re allowed to go to the first Sunday session and the Priesthood session here without investigators, those 2 sessions are our freebies.  But if we want to go to the other sessions, we have to have investigators with us or we can´t get in.  Our zone leaders will be at the doors checking haha.  More motivation to get some non-members there with us, right?  Way excited for Conference.  It seems like just last week I was in the MTC gym watching it on the huge projector, and now it´s back again.  Time is going quickly.

So I learned something interesting the other day.  Well not so much as learned something as I did put 2 things I already knew into one truth that I never really made the connection to before.  Of the many names that Christ has, one of them is "The Only Begotten" of the Father.  I never really thought about the significance of the name, because He has many names and I figured it was just another one.  It never really called my attention.  But then I got to thinking that all of us are children of our Heavenly Father - we are all begotten of Him.  So why is Christ called the Only Begotten?  I thought it had something to do with the Atonement or something like that, but it has a literal sense as well.  We are all sons and daughters of God, but we all have earthly parents (or parents of our bodies) as well.  For Christ, however, the Father is the father of His spirit and his body, and this trait is unique to Him and only Him.  Thus, He is the Only Begotten Son - in the flesh.  Really obvious if you think about it, but I thought it was pretty interesting.  I told my companion and he laughed because I just now made the connection haha.  It was funny.

This week I wanted to share a little insight as to the life of a missionary - more specifically what we typically teach people (and what Bryce will be teaching people).  I´m going to give a sample first lesson, but keep in mind a few things: 1) this would be much better and a little different in person where I could feed off of your responses and ask you questions, and 2) it´s really hard for me to do in English lol.

(after getting to know them and the introductions and everything)
We are representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have been given authority by a living prophet to speak about Him and for Him.  So that´s exactly what we´d like to talk about today - Jesus Christ.  What do you believe about Jesus Christ?  What role has He played in your life?  Let´s talk about His mortal life for a minute, and then how it applies to us even today.
What are some of the things Jesus did during His life here on earth?  He performed miracles, He taught principles of the kingdom of heaven, and eventually He was crucified for our sins.  He taught the will of the Father to many people and taught us the way to live our lives in order to obtain eternal life.  His teachings were perfect.  Do you think that everything He taught is important to our salvation, or only a few of his doctrines?  All of them are important, all very necessary.  In order to help us know what these teachings were and to establish organization for the doctrine of the kingdom, He established a church which contained all of His teachings.  He put in place an authority and power that could be exercised by people called by Him and by His Father.  All this He did so that we could know what the principles of salvation are and to make them easily accessible to all - every one of them is a part of His church.
Fast forward to today in modern times.  How many churches are there?  Millions.  How many different teachings are there, all proclaiming to be of Christ?  Hundreds of millions.  However, not all of them can be true, genuine teachings of our Lord.  For example, some churches teach that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all one personage that manifests itself in these 3 forms.  Others teach that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are 3 seperate and distinct persons.  The two teachings - though both speak of God - cannot both be true.  They are all one person, or they aren´t.  This principle applies to all doctrinal points of different churches.  Thus, it is important to find the church that has the correct doctrines that Jesus Christ Himself taught - or, better said, the one true church of Christ.  So how will we know which church is true?  By the teachings they profess.  If the church is true, it will teach every principle that Christ taught.  No more, no less.
We´ve already said that every one of the teachings of Jesus is important - He didn´t teach anything that was "unnecessary" for our salvation.  Let´s use an example.  For simplicity´s sake, we´ll say that Christ taught 100 things necessary for our salvation.  Keep in mind that we´ve already established that not every church has these 100 principles, because every chuch teaches something different.  Therefore, if a church has 50 of the 100 teachings of Christ, is it the true church?  No.  If a church professes that there are 110 doctrinal concepts necessary for salvation, is it the true church?  No.  The true church of God must contain the 100 principles necessary for salvation and they must be the same 100 principles that Christ taught.  If you´re taking directions from somebody, and they miss one crucial step, you will not arrive at your destination.  Likewise, if we miss one precious doctrine of Christ, we will not arrive at our destination of eternal life.
So, the question is now: "How will we know which of the teachings is really of Jesus Christ and not false?"  We have this book here.  It´s called the Book of Mormon.  Like it says on the cover, it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Inside this book, the principles of the kingdom of heaven are taught.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is found in this book.  It is like the Bible, which also contains the word of God and was written by prophets.  But the Bible was written by the prophets of ancient Jerusalem, while the Book of Mormon was written by prophets in ancient America.  Both contain teachings about faith, repentance, baptism, and other essential doctrines.  Both contain the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety.  Note that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on the face of the earth that uses the Book of Mormon and considers it scripture with the same validity and divinity as the Bible.  It both clarifies teachings of the Bible and reveals to us other principles of truth.
Remember, in order to be the true church, it has to have all the teachings of Christ and they must be taught exactly as he taught them.  Now, the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests solely and wholly upon the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  If the Book or Mormon is false, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is entirely false and can be ruled out as the true church of God, because we would be using doctrine that was not taught by Christ.  But if the Book of Mormon is true, than the church that uses it is true and all others are false - for they would lack the doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon and thus have only partial claim on the doctrine of Christ in its totality.  It all depends on the truthfulness of this book.
So how can you personally know that the Book of Mormon is a true, divine book from God?  Thankfully, God loves us and has provided us a way to know the truth for ourselves.  Now I know it´s true, but don´t listen to me.  Don´t take my word for it.  Do you think God knows if the Book of Mormon is true?  He does - He knows everything.  Do you think if you ask Him if it´s true, He´ll tell you?  He will - He loves you.  That is the invitation we have for all who have ears to hear: pray about the Book of Mormon.  Read a little part of it - just a chapter will do.  Think about it.  And they pray.  Ask God your Heavenly Father to tell you if the book is true.  Ask Him to tell you if the church that uses it - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - is true.  And then listen.  Pay attention to what God tells you through the feelings you will receive in your heart, and you too, along with myself and millions of other people in the world, will know without a doubt of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I testify to all that the Book of Mormon is indeed a true book.  It was and is inspired by God and is the book that will help you reach life eternal with your families and with God by following it´s precepts.  I testify that God lives, and that His son Jesus Christ lives.  I testify that the heavens are open, and the blessings of eternal life and exaltation are pouring down upon mankind through the direction of a living prophet today.  I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth, and that through the careful and joyous obedience to the principles that it teaches, the blessings of a life of eternal happiness are not only real and possible, but promised to us all.  I testify that all of these things are true, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

-Elder Moore

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