Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26, 2015

That’s great you had Madison and Alec over to help you guys. I hated those barrels haha the stupid ping pong balls were always getting lost under them haha. I’m doing good not to sick anymore my ankles don't hurt anymore. I tract a lot but also not a lot of teaching either. It was transfers last night and I’m staying in Grimsby for another six weeks. At the same address. I don't really need anything. Thank you for adding more money to my card I didn't know I needed it until it was in there and right as I heard you put it in there I needed it haha. So thanks. As for if you can send anything, I would like to get an external hard drive for all the stuff I’m getting. I would just buy one here but all the electronics are so much more expensive here. If you ever have the money instead of adding it to my account just get kc to buy a nice 1 TB hard drive for me. Haha! The reason I say kc is because he knows what he’s looking at lol. But yea that's about it for me I think. Yesterday we walked through a really cool forest looking for a crazy posh house that wasn't there. A member supposedly lives there but we walked for about 2 miles and saw nothing but other super nice houses. I’ll send you a couple pictures of it, it was at least really pretty. But I better end this I love you and I’ll talk to you next week! Oh yea also in that picture with you at work, this is a serious question. Is that you? You have lost so much weight! I didn't even recognize you! But yea I miss you have a good week. Jer

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence, by Jeffrey R. Holland

Jeremy wanted us to read this.
"Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence”

Jeffrey R. Holland
From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 2 March 1999.
Beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.
There is a lesson in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision which virtually every Latter-day Saint has had occasion to experience, or one day soon will. It is the plain and very sobering truth that before great moments, certainly before great spiritual moments, there can come adversity, opposition, and darkness. Life has some of those moments for us, and occasionally they come just as we are approaching an important decision or a significant step in our lives.
In that marvelous account which we read too seldom, Joseph said he had scarcely begun his prayer when he felt a power of astonishing influence come over him. “Thick darkness,” as he described it, gathered around him and seemed bent on his utter destruction. But he exerted all his powers to call upon God to deliver him out of the power of this enemy, and as he did so a pillar of light brighter than the noonday sun descended gradually until it rested upon him. At the very moment of the light’s appearance, he found himself delivered from the destructive power which had held him bound. What then followed is the greatest epiphany since the events surrounding the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ in the meridian of time. The Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith, and the dispensation of the fulness of times had begun. 1
Most of us do not need any more reminders than we have already had that there is one who personifies “opposition in all things,” that “an angel of God” fell “from heaven” and in so doing became “miserable forever.” What a chilling destiny! Because this is Lucifer’s fate, “he sought also the misery of all mankind,” Lehi teaches us. 2

The Fight Goes On

An entire article could be devoted to this subject of the adversary’s strong, preliminary, anticipatory opposition to many of the good things God has in store for us. But I want to move past that observation to another truth we may not recognize so readily. This is a lesson in the parlance of the athletic contest that reminds us “it isn’t over until it’s over.” It is the reminder that the fight goes on. Unfortunately we must not think Satan is defeated with that first strong breakthrough which so dramatically brought the light and moved us forward.
To make my point a little more vividly, may I go to another passage of scripture, indeed, to another vision. You will recall that the book of Moses begins with him being taken up to “an exceedingly high mountain” where, the scripture says, “he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses.” What then followed was what happens to prophets who are taken to high mountains. The Lord said to Moses:
“Look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands. … Moses looked, and … beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not.” 3
This experience is remarkable by every standard. It is one of the great revelations given in human history. It stands with the greatest accounts we have of any prophet’s experience with Divinity.
But Moses’ message to you today is: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous, illuminating moment, the opening of an inspired path, is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over.
What happens to Moses next, after his revelatory moment, would be ludicrous if it were not so dangerous and so true to form. Lucifer—in an effort to continue his opposition, in his unfailing effort to get his licks in later if not sooner—appears and shouts in equal portions of anger and petulance after God has revealed Himself to the prophet: “Moses, worship me.” But Moses is not having it. He has just seen the real thing, and by comparison this sort of performance is pretty dismal.
“Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? … Where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
“For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me. … But I can look upon thee in the natural man. …
“Where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God. …
“Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not.”
The record then depicts a reaction that is both pathetic and frightening:
“And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
“And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God [the very phrase used by Joseph Smith], he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
“And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook. …
“And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence,” 4 always to come again, we can be sure, but always to be defeated by the God of glory—always.

Do Not Draw Back

I wish to encourage every one of us regarding the opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun.
Paul pleaded with those new members in much the same way President Gordon B. Hinckley is pleading with new members today. The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul says to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble—to these he says, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Then this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. …
“… If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
“… We are not of them who draw back unto perdition.” 5
In Latter-day Saint talk that is to say, Sure it is tough—before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined. That is the way it has always been, Paul says, but don’t draw back. Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. That tenacity is what saved Moses and Joseph Smith when the adversary confronted them, and it is what will save you.
I suppose every returned missionary and probably every convert reading these words knows exactly what I am talking about. Appointments for discussions canceled, the Book of Mormon in a plastic bag hanging from a front doorknob, baptismal dates not met. And so it goes through the teaching period, through the commitments and the baptism, through the first weeks and months in the Church, and more or less forever—at least, the adversary would pursue it forever if he thought he could see any weakening of your resolve, any chink in your armor.
This opposition turns up almost any place something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage. It can occur in situations related to your family, Church callings, or career.
With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.

The Spirit of Revelation

To help us make our way through these experiences, these important junctures in our lives, let me draw from another scriptural reference to Moses. It was given in the early days of this dispensation when revelation was needed, when a true course was being set and had to be continued.
Most Latter-day Saints know the formula for revelation given in section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants—the verses about studying it out in your mind and the Lord promising to confirm or deny. What most of us don’t read in conjunction with this is the section which precedes it: section 8.
In that revelation the Lord has said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” I love the combination there of both mind and heart. God will teach us in a reasonable way and in a revelatory way—mind and heart combined—by the Holy Ghost. “Now, behold,” He continues, “this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.” 6
Why would the Lord use the example of crossing the Red Sea as the classic example of “the spirit of revelation”? Why didn’t He use the First Vision? Or the example from the book of Moses we just used? Or the vision of the brother of Jared? Well, He could have used any of these, but He didn’t. Here He had another purpose in mind.
Usually we think of revelation as a downpour of information. But this is too narrow a concept of revelation. May I suggest how section 8 broadens our understanding, particularly in light of these “fights of affliction” we have been discussing.

Questions Often Precede Revelation

First of all, revelation almost always comes in response to a question, usually an urgent question—not always, but usually. In that sense it does provide information, but it is urgently needed information, special information. Moses’ challenge was how to get himself and the children of Israel out of this horrible predicament they were in. There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and a lot of water immediately ahead. He needed information to know what to do, but it wasn’t a casual thing he was asking. In this case it was literally a matter of life and death.
You will need information too, but in matters of great consequence it is not likely to come unless you want it urgently, faithfully, humbly. Moroni calls it seeking “with real intent.” 7 If you can seek that way and stay in that mode, not much that the adversary can counter with will dissuade you from a righteous path. You can hang on, whatever the assault and affliction, because you have paid the price for real conviction.
Like Moses in that vision, there may come after the fact some competing doubts and confusion, but it will pale when you measure it against the real thing. Remember the real thing. Remember how urgently you have needed help in earlier times and you got it. The Red Sea will open to the honest seeker of revelation. The adversary has power to hedge up the way, to marshal Pharaoh’s forces and dog our escape right to the water’s edge, but he can’t produce the real thing. He cannot conquer if we will it otherwise. Exerting all our powers, the light will again come, the darkness will again retreat, the safety will be sure. That is lesson number one about crossing the Red Sea by the spirit of revelation.

Do Not Fear

Lesson number two is closely related. It is that in the process of revelation and making important decisions, fear plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role. To Oliver Cowdery, who missed the opportunity of a lifetime because he didn’t seize it in the lifetime of the opportunity, the Lord said, “You did not continue as you commenced.” Does that sound familiar to those who have been illuminated and then knuckled under to second thoughts and returning doubts? “It is not expedient that you should translate now,” the Lord said in language that must have been very hard for Oliver to hear. “Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now.” 8
Everyone runs the risk of fear. For a moment in Moses’ confrontation with the adversary, “Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell.” 9 That’s when you see it—when you are afraid.
That is exactly the problem that beset the children of Israel at the edge of the Red Sea, and it has everything to do with holding fast to your earlier illumination. The record says, “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid.” Some (just like those Paul described earlier) said words to this effect: “Let’s go back. This isn’t worth it. We must have been wrong. That probably wasn’t the right spirit telling us to leave Egypt.” What they actually said to Moses was: “Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? … It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” 10 And I have to say, “What about that which has already happened? What about the miracles that got you here? What about the frogs and the lice? What about the rod and the serpent, the river and the blood? What about the hail, the locusts, the fire, the firstborn sons?”
How soon we forget. It would not have been better to stay and serve the Egyptians, and it is not better to remain outside the Church, nor to put off marriage, nor to reject a mission call or other Church service, and so on and so on forever. Of course our faith will be tested as we fight through these self-doubts and second thoughts. Some days we will be miraculously led out of Egypt—seemingly free, seemingly on our way—only to come to yet another confrontation, like all that water lying before us. At those times we must resist the temptation to panic and give up. At those times fear will be the strongest of the adversary’s weapons against us.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. … The Lord shall fight for you.” In confirmation the great Jehovah said to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” 11
That is the second lesson of the spirit of revelation. After you have gotten the message, after you have paid the price to feel His love and hear the word of the Lord, go forward. Don’t fear, don’t vacillate, don’t quibble, don’t whine. You may, like Alma going to Ammonihah, have to find a route that leads an unusual way, but that is exactly what the Lord is doing here for the children of Israel. Nobody had ever crossed the Red Sea this way, but so what? There’s always a first time. With the spirit of revelation, dismiss your fears and wade in with both feet. In the words of Joseph Smith, “Brethren [and sisters], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!” 12

God Will Help Us

The third lesson from the Lord’s spirit of revelation in the miracle of crossing the Red Sea is that along with the illuminating revelation that points us toward a righteous purpose or duty, God will also provide the means and power to achieve that purpose. Trust in that eternal truth. If God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you, He will provide the way for you to accomplish it. That is true of joining the Church or raising a family, of going on a mission, or any one of a hundred other worthy tasks in life. Remember what the Savior said to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. What was the problem in 1820? Why was Joseph not to join another church? It was at least in part because “they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” 13 God’s grace is sufficient! The Lord would tell Joseph again and again that just as in days of old the children of Israel would be “led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. … Therefore, let not your hearts faint. … Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.” 14
What goodly land? Well, your goodly land. Your promised land. Your new Jerusalem. Your own little acre flowing with milk and honey. Your future. Your dreams. Your destiny. I believe that in our own individual ways, God takes us to the grove or the mountain or the temple and there shows us the wonder of what His plan is for us. We may not see it as fully as Moses or Nephi or the brother of Jared did, but we see as much as we need to see in order to know the Lord’s will for us and to know that He loves us beyond mortal comprehension. I also believe that the adversary and his pinched, calculating little minions try to oppose such experiences and then try to darken them after they happen. But that is not the way of the gospel. That is not the way of a Latter-day Saint who claims as the fundamental fact of the Restoration the spirit of revelation. Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going. With Paul, I say to all of you:
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” 15
I acknowledge the reality of opposition and adversity, but I bear witness of the God of glory, of the redeeming Son of God, of light and hope and a bright future. I promise you that God lives and loves you, each one of you, and that He has set bounds and limits to the opposing powers of darkness. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the victor over death and hell and the fallen one who schemes there. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and it has been restored.
“Fear ye not.” And when the second and third and fourth blows come, “fear ye not. … The Lord shall fight for you.” 16 Cast not away therefore your confidence.

Elder Hollands talk I sent him. Thought I would share.

I found this talk by Jeffrey Holland. I thought it was a great talk. I don't know if you can print it off and read it later cause its sort of long but its worth the read. Love ya!
The Miracle of a Mission” – Elder Holland – MTC Talk – January 2001
Brothers and Sisters, we feel it an immense privilege. I’m so proud of you. I’m so grateful that you’ve served. Maybe that’s the most important thing I can say to you. Tonight we don’t have a lot of time. There are 101 things that I would like to say. I wish we could, you probably don’t wish it, but I wish we could stay all night. And I do this humbly, this informally, and as lovingly as I know how to do. In the time that we have I’ll hit a couple of highlights and key things that I think you need to remember and hope you will.
More importantly maybe than anything, at least basic than anything else that I would say to you, is my expression and my personal love for you. I’m authorized to represent President Hinckley, President Monson, and President Faust, the Quorum of the Twelve and all the General Authorities; and I think literally and truly I’m authorized to represent the Lord Himself. I’m called to be His witness, His representative, and to speak by His right and His power, not of our own. Nothing of our own strength or privilege and preparation. We don’t have anything else. The only thing that matters, the only real preparation and spirit of authorization happens from Heaven. The same with you. You get that from the same source. But, I think in light of that authorization which sent you into the mission field, I have the same authorization to come to this MTC and to tell you that God loves you, is aware of you, and knows your name, knows your call and your mission field, knows your companion, knows your mission President. He knows the lessons you’re going to have and the challenges you’re going to face. We do love you for serving.
I’m grateful for the way you look. It’s very important that the messenger be worthy of the message. We ask you to look a certain way and act a certain way because of the message. This is more important than anything you’ve ever done in your life. However, we feel . . . and I’m sure you’ve been wondering . . . however significant your lives may have been . . . and I’m sure you’ve done very important things, . . . this is higher and holier and more sacred and more eternal than anything you’ve ever done. It is by definition the most important thing you can do in the world, in time or eternity. For this reason you are engaged in the saving of the human soul. And that is the highest and holiest work in the universe.
That is the thing that God Himself said was His work and glory. It is the purpose for which the Savior came to the earth and gave His life and was resurrected to open those possibilities and promises of Eternal Life. It is the purpose for which every prophet has lived and every apostle has spoken. It is the purpose for which every missionary since Adam and Eve has gone forth to declare the truth. You join those ranks! You join that brotherhood and sisterhood and it is as I said by definition, by theology, it is the most important thing you can do.
There will be other ways you will do this. There will be other ways you will do the most important thing in the world, not the least of which is to be a parent—that will engage you in the saving of the human soul. More tender because you get to raise that human soul and love it and take it on into eternity, but it will still be the same work in God’s eyes and in the records of Heaven and the economy of the Plan of Salvation. This work and parental work and church service for the rest of your lives and temple service will forever bring you into the eternal ranks of the work of angels, the work of the Priesthood, the work of the prophets and apostles, for as long as they have lived. And so forgive us if we are very serious with you about this.
It’s kind of “grown-up time.” This isn’t the seminary council. This isn’t being president of the teacher’s quorum or the laurel class, important as that is. We send you to the temple, we give you the most important covenants a man or a woman can make on the face of this planet at 19 or 21, and we invite you to come and do the work that God Himself has labored over and toiled over and wept over and pursued since before the beginning of time, since before the foundation of the world. It’s fairly serious business and it doesn’t mean depressing and it doesn’t mean discouraging. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy. But we are giving . . . as General Authorities, we’re giving everything we know to this. For as long as we live we will be bearing testimony of the divinity of the Church, and of the salvation of the Lord and of the Restoration of the gospel and of God’s love for His children. Until I cannot move my lips one more time, that is what we will do.
We’re asking you to join us in that for two years. We’re asking you to carry one leg of the race, one relay of the baton for two years’ time, or 18 months, as the case for the sisters, and to join President Hinckley and President Faust and President Monson and President Packer and all the brethren. And again I say, you only have to let your imagination move in the way that Sister Holland has suggested, that you join all the other prophets who have ever lived in doing this. It is a relatively short period of time. It may not seem short to you, but it is short to us who are doing this work for 40 or 45 years. We just thank you. We love you. We are honored and grateful that you have come. If fifteen of us had to do it alone, it would be a very, very hard work. If three members of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles of the Quorum had to do the work you’re doing, it would kill us off sooner than it’s going to kill us. So, it is a very personal expression of gratitude that we make. Thank you for serving.
In doing that, I represent your Father, your Dad, your little brothers and your little sisters, your aunts, and your uncles, and your bishop and everybody who loves you and everybody who prays for you. You’re the most prayed for people on the face of the earth. I really believe that. I do not believe, collectively speaking, that there is any body of people that’s any collective circle of individuals are prayed for on the face of the earth than the LDS missionaries. I don’t think that other churches have the organizations we have or the missionary force to pray about and to pray for, and they’re not organized enough in their ecclesiastical organization to do the praying if they had the missionaries. And I used to think that you were the second, that the President of the Church was first, that he was the most prayed for man on the earth and you were second. But I’ve repented of that because I’ve never heard anybody pray for the President of the Church, who did not in the same breath, pray for the missionaries. So, it’s you and President Hinckley, neck and neck all the way down the line. And take comfort in that, take great satisfaction in that—I do!
There are days when I really need to know that each and every member prays for the Brethren. Hard days, long days, challenging days, troublesome days when Lucifer is real, when evil is rampant and problems abound and the Church is confronted, or the missionaries struggle, or the mission has a problem, or the people in their homes are having difficulties, or families are being torn apart. There are lots of reasons for us as General Authorities to get heartaches and to shed tears, and we take great consolation in the fact that the members of the Church pray for us.
And I really want to thank you for that, and I want you to know that we return the favor. That every Thursday of our lives, this is beyond our personal prayers, (Sister Holland and I pray for you personally.) That every Thursday of your life and of mine we pray for you in the Temple, and I want you to know that we have a little prayer experience in the temple, as General Authorities, just the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, until the Brethren come in at Conference time, and then it’s everyone! Every week we have an experience. I don’t need to detail all the sanctity of it to you, but suffice it to say, it includes a prayer at a prayer alter, and it’s led by the President of the Church. It’s led by Gordon B. Hinckley, and you are prayed for. And on days when it’s hard, on days when it’s tough, and if you’re particularly new, on days when you’re homesick, you just know that the most beloved man I know in all this world prays for you because you’re the teammates! You’re understanding something of what we do, and for that reason we really understand what you do, and we’re kind of in it together. Maybe the folks back home do or don’t know so much about it. Maybe your little brother or little sister don’t really comprehend what a mission is. Really, nobody who hasn’t been on a mission understands. But nevertheless, from the President of the Church right down to the newest members anywhere who learns to pray and learns what a missionary is, you have that tremendous support and love and encouragement, and I’m authorized, I think, to speak for all of them, to speak for your family.
Some of you out here are new, and by definition, all of you are within nine weeks in this experience. Don’t be discouraged. Now that may be easy to say and hard for you to understand. The culture is new, the language is new, and you have every right and every reason, at least every understandable reason, to be homesick. Everybody’s been there, and if it gives you any encouragement, just remember that I did this once too, and that no young man in the history of the world could have been more affected by a mission than I was.
My father was a convert and my mother had not served a mission, as sisters usually didn’t then. No one in my family had ever gone on a mission. I didn’t know the clothing to buy. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know anything about it. I knew zero about a mission, but I knew that I wanted to go, and I knew that I wanted to serve. As inadequate as I was, as unprepared as I was . . . I didn’t look right; I didn’t act right; I didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t have an MTC, and I don’t remember people or even remember a sheet telling us what clothing to bring. I don’t know, I had a suit my brother handed down to me. You could shave by it! You could hang it up and it glistened, it was so worn and so shiny. I had that suit and a green corduroy suit with matching vest and okra lining. Boy, if you think my Mission President’s eyes didn’t pop out! What did I know? That’s all I owned, and my Mom said that I would probably be okay, and that’s what I took.
In two years my life was changed forever and forever and forever. Everything I hold dear, everything I cherish in one way or another, I owe to the experience that converged from my childhood, my lovely parents, and my good home. Converged and passed into my soul on a mission. Everything — my marriage to Sister Holland, my children, the fact that they have been on missions and all married in the temple and now are raising children to go on missions and be married in the temple, my education, and my chance to have a profession in education, my church assignments—everything that has ever blessed me I owe to the gospel, collectively, broadly, and to my mission specifically.
So don’t worry about being homesick. Don’t worry about being new. Don’t worry about the language. None of that matters. It will not matter. God loves you and this is the truth and you can do it! Just reach down, pull up your socks, and go to work. This is a time for you to go out. I plead with you. I plead with you, in the case of the Elders, to have a 24-month mission! Not 23, not 22, not 19, not 16, not 14…to have a 24-month mission! Sisters, have an 18-month mission—not 15, not 11, not 6. Start fast. Run hard, and to the tape! You can rest later.
I played for a state championship basketball team once, and we weren’t supposed to be there, and we weren’t supposed to be able to play. We were a rag-tag bunch from a very small school where there was hardly enough guys to put on jerseys. And somehow we made it to the championship game. And I remember the coach saying at half time, when we were behind…he came into the locker room and said, “I know you’re tired. We don’t have a lot of substitutes—we hardly have any. I know you’re tired. I know you’re giving it everything you’ve got, but the next 20 minutes is the most important 20 minutes of your high school career. Twenty minutes is all I’m asking, and then we’ll rest forever! Give me all you’ve got for 20 more minutes! Let’s go out there and do that.” And we did, and it worked, and we won. It was great, but matters not at all, matters not one iota. I don’t think I ever thought about it much in the forty-plus years since that happened. But in the gospel, I mean if it can matter for a high school ball game or a track meet or a dance review or a symphony recital, it can matter for things like that, that pass away in the night and dissolve in the air, how much more should that spirit of commitment count in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We’re just asking for that slice.
Most of you had a reasonably comfortable life up to the call, and you can just have the most terrific, relaxed, wonderful life after, but right now we want you to run all the way, every day, every step until this is over. To give the Lord a full 24-month or 18-month mission, for your sake, for the church’s sake, for integrity’s sake, for the prophet’s sake. I can tell you he’s doing it! Ninety-one years old, (he will be ninety-one in June), ninety-one years old and going all day, every day, everywhere, all the time until he drops!
His only council to us, and he’s willing to do the same, he says, “Look, you know, you don’t work hard enough, you don’t go far enough, you don’t do enough,” (here we all are dying), he says, “Look, I don’t have sympathy for you. If you die, you die.” And clearly that’s his theory. I mean, that’s his position. He just said, “Look, what use are we then, what do we do at our level, at our time in life, with our calls…what else is there? We will just give and give and give until we are taken.” And we don’t want you taken. We don’t want you to pass out. We don’t want you to ruin your health. We just want two years from you. We just want 18 months from you. So start now. Just don’t look back. Just put your face to the sun and put your shoulder into this work, and give it everything you’ve got and savor every day! Now if anyone wants to go home, talk to me. I will not let you! I will throw my life before the barred door. I have chains in every room. I have skyhooks and cables. I have things you’ve never seen before. If you think President Palmer’s tough on you, you haven’t seen anything yet! If you have any feeling about going home, you cannot. You must not. Not for the Church’s sake, the Church wouldn’t miss you that fast! You cannot go for your sake!
Look at me and listen to me and see the fire in my eyes and the flame in my soul! You cannot ever go home! You’ve got to know what this means to me, what it has meant to my life, what is has meant to my family. The first missionary to go—a 180 degree turn for our entire family and its generations—to receive the gospel and go on a mission! I would do anything to keep a missionary in the mission field. I would hang on, I would grab your leg, I would twist your ankle, I would put a full nelson and a judo chop, and whatever it takes. I would make an absolute fool out of myself, which is about what I’m describing, just to have you know how much it matters. And someday, and someday soon, it won’t be long; you’ll laugh about the homesickness and smile about the necessitudes of the MTC or the shock of the culture, or the strangeness of the language. Every day and every way it will get better! That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will get easier, but it will get better.
This is hard work. It is the hardest work you will ever do. That’s why I say this is the most important work you will ever do. I think those two go together. It’s hard work, but every day, in every way, it will get better, and you will feel the Spirit of the Lord. You’ll know He loves you, and the language will come, and baptisms will come, and you will make new friendships, both with your companions and with investigators and with ward members and branch members and people with whom you serve. And someday, sometime, you will come back, husbands and wives, you will come back and preside over these missions, or you will send your sons or your daughters to serve in the same missions. You will tell them stories of those legends of your life in the mission field.
Plan right now! Plan right now for the stories you will tell your children about your mission. Live right now in every way to look them in the eye and put them on your knee and rock them on your lap and tell them as I am telling you, that you loved every day of your mission. That you worked your head off! That you’ve never worked so hard in your life. That you were tired and sweaty and dirty and hungry and you knew how Paul felt and you knew how Peter felt and you knew how Mormon felt and you knew how Moroni felt. And I promise you that your children will remember and never forget it, and they will cherish it and hold it dear for their mission and so the generations go. So life is lived and this dispensation is pursued, and the Kingdom comes and Christ does arrive, whenever that is.
Live now for those generations. Live now for the deacons and beehive girls who will one day have you return and sit up and watch you in Sacrament Meeting, who don’t have a blessed idea what a mission is, and have no idea what it means to go to Manaus or Belem or Belo Horizonte or Porto Alegre or wherever. And then you look them in the eye and say that they too can serve, that they’ve got to go take their turn in the relay race of eternity. They’ve got to step up and pace out their two years or eighteen months. You live right now in a way that you can pierce their hearts and touch their lives.
Without a big brother or father or an uncle to set an example for me in the mission field, at the very time I was wondering about a mission, I had no particular history or tradition to propel me that way or move me that way. A friend of mine a little older, just the way you have younger friends waiting at home, came back from his mission and testified of the hard work and real growth and problems and troubles and fun and laughter and tears and the whole package, and I was spellbound! I really think that day . . . I was 17 years old, near enough to start to think about, “Well, am I or aren’t I?”, and I think that day is the day I decided to go on a mission. I started to take the steps towards one. You have such a legacy to give. Already you’re just the newest of the new, you’re the newest team on the squad. Already from day one, you take your place with what is, I guess, the grandest fraternity or sisterhood, or brotherhood and sisterhood, in the Church—that of a missionary. It is the largest collective association of which people are known in this Church. He or she was a missionary! And the expectations are so high, people really believe you to be perfect. They want you to be perfect.
When I was at BYU and had new converts come, and sometimes their feelings were hurt, or sometimes something happened that wasn’t appropriate, and I would talk to them and this precious convert would say, “But she was a returned missionary,” or “He was a returned missionary,” as if to say, “You know, gosh, I thought I was with Moroni. I thought I was with Wilford Woodruff.” They have a right—everybody has a right—the Church has a right to see us that way, collectively, even if that is a tremendous burden to bear, and it is. It’s an overwhelming burden to bear. But the Church has a right, and these kids have a right—your little brothers and your little sisters have a right—to just think you’re perfect—that you’re out there doing something, and they don’t know exactly what. I know that all my life growing up, I heard “tracting”, which is knocking doors, and I thought they were saying “tracking”, like Indians through the woods, and I wondered, “What are the missionaries doing tracking?” But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what misconceptions exist, you just have an obligation to let people think you’re perfect. And I do think you’re perfect. I think you’re perfect because you’ve chosen to serve.
I know that some of you are struggling. I could see it in your eyes when I shook your hands. That’s what we do when we shake your hands—we interview you. And thank heavens for this calling—you can do it that fast! I can sit down with President Palmer now and identify the Elders and Sisters that we probably need to talk with a little bit. It’s okay, you’re alright, it’s no problem, but I can tell the ones that are struggling and just know that even then, even with that, we think you’re perfect because everyone struggles.
When President Hinckley stands and talks about his mission, as he did with me when I had a chance to write an article on him for the Ensign when he was made the President of the Church. . . I had the wonderful privilege to write the article on him for the Church magazine. I interviewed him and all he wanted to talk about was his mission, as if nothing else had ever happened! And in a way he’s trying to say what I’m saying—that nothing would have happened if it hadn’t been for that.
He got on his mission and hated it! I don’t know if he hated it, but he felt troubled by it. He was a little older, he’d finished college, it was the Depression, he didn’t have any money, his mother had just died, and he’d been through school because he didn’t have any money to go on a mission. So he’d go one more year and one more year. So he was a little older—he was 23, 24 years old when he went on his mission, and he had ambition, and he had things to do, and certainly wanted to save money, and his Dad had sacrificed to send him. He said, “If you go on a mission, your brothers and I will keep you on your mission.” And his mother, who had died, had saved a little bit of her house money, just a little bit of grocery money, and a little bit of her laundry money, and whatever, and she saved it, only a few dollars, but she saved it and left it for him after she died. And he was so touched by that he went on his mission.
But he got out there and he found what you found. It was hard work, just miserably hard work. And the days were long and sometimes it was cold and sometimes it was hot and the people rejected him. In his day he stood on a little soapbox, and he couldn’t . . . and they made fun of him and teased him and pointed and nullified the local Mormon missionaries. It was a nightmare for his first six to eight weeks, about like you would be, and he wrote his Dad and he said, “Dad, I’m coming home. I’m wasting my time and your money, and it’s just not paying off, and I’m coming home.” His Dad blazed a letter back! And President Hinckley said he had to read it wearing asbestos gloves. His father fired him a one-sentence letter back! “DEAR GORDON, FORGET YOURSELF AND GET TO WORK! LOVE, FATHER.” And he said the “love” was sort of figurative in that letter, that is what fathers are supposed to say. He said he went upstairs to his little apartment in Preston, England, and he knelt down and said, “I guess I’m supposed to stay. I guess I’m supposed to be on this mission. So help me. Help me serve. Help me work. Help me learn what I’m supposed to learn.” And then he said with tears rolling down his cheeks, the President of the Church, “That is the day when my life changed forever!”
Where would we be today without Gordon B. Hinckley? Well, I can tell you one thing—that Gordon B. Hinckley wouldn’t be the President of the Church if he hadn’t stayed on his mission. What for you and for me and for the Church and for destiny, what was hanging in the balance that day, that even somebody like President Hinckley, young Gordon Hinckley, wondered whether a mission was worth it or not. Because his Dad and a mission President and a companion and you and me and people who love him, figuratively speaking said, “You’d better stay there. This is a chance of a lifetime. This is the work of eternity. Don’t lose it now. Don’t blow it now. Give it all you’ve got.” Because of that, we have the President of the Church. We have the 103rd temple to dedicate in six more weeks. We have 60,000 missionaries around the world. We have a destiny and a dispensation in which he stands with Joseph and Brigham and John and Wilford and Lorenzo and Heber and George Albert and David and on and on to this fifteenth successor in an unbroken chair of prophets in this, the greatest dispensation in the history of the world.
Well, look, if President Hinckley can struggle, you can struggle. If President Hinckley can wonder whether it’s worth it, you can wonder. You just forget it, just say it and get on with it. Just write it in your journal and keep moving. Gordon, forget yourself. Go to work! And that’s collectively the message that God would give to all of us.
Remember above all, that this is a spiritual work. It’s the most important thing you can remember all your life. You cannot have a mission and you will not succeed on this mission and you won’t be happy and you won’t lose your homesickness and you won’t get the language and you won’t be acclimatized to the culture until you give over to God and say, “This is Thy work and I’m only the instrument. I’m on the pencil, but you’ve got to do the writing.” That is the most important thing for a missionary to learn ever. Section 50, a verse you all memorize and I hope you remember all your life, “Unto what you were ordained (or in the case of the sisters, unto what you were set apart by somebody who was ordained), to preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter, and if it is not taught that way, it is not God’s way.” If it is not taught that way, it is some other way, and any other way is not of God. You can’t do it your own way. Don’t even try. That’s part of the worry—you don’t have to do it, you can’t do it, you shouldn’t do it. Stop worrying that you have to do this. This is God’s work! He will watch you! He will answer your prayers! He has legions of angels and teams of chariots to run to your aid this very hour. He will bless you! This is His work, but you have to do it His way! That’s the contract.
I shared with the missionaries in Sao Paulo yesterday the story of Moses leading the children of Israel who had to ask that question saying, “Lord, I’ll do this. I’ll take on Pharaoh, I’ll face the soothsayers, witches and doctors and the serpents, and we’ll get blood running in the river, and we’ll part the Red Sea, but I can’t do it alone. I couldn’t even try. I’m the least adequate man alive. I can’t even talk. I need a companion to translate for me. I can’t do any of this, but we’ll do it, parting the Red Sea and crossing the River Jordan and claiming our inheritance, but I have to know that you will go with us. I have to know that you’ll be the divine comforter in this missionary service. Otherwise, we can’t go. We’re not even going to leave Cairo. We’re just going to stay here. We’re just going to stay here and stack bricks. We can’t do it. There is no way that we can fight Pharaoh or fate or sand dunes or water unless the very power of heaven, unless the power of Almighty God is resting on our shoulders and in our hearts.
That is a legitimate request to make of a missionary, and it is a legitimate answer that God gives saying, “You’re on! That’s a deal! You don’t have to wonder about me. Worry about yourself. Don’t worry about me—I can do it!” And He can! And He does! You will succeed in this work. You will succeed at this work because it is God’s to do, and all you have to do is say, “Here, use me. Take me. Just point me in the right direction. Where’s the tape and I’ll head for it? I’ll give you all I’ve got for two years.” And that’s all a missionary has to do, and technically all a missionary can do. And that’s all that God wants and He’ll do the work and He’ll give you the words to say and the language to say it and the testimony to bear and the places to go and the doors to knock on and the people to inquire of on the street. He’ll do all of that if you will pledge to live by the Spirit and be obedient and testify by the Holy Ghost and do the work His way.
Forgive us if we ask so much about obedience. We ask so much about rules. It’s because we’ve been at this for 170 years, just in this dispensation alone. We know what it takes to succeed. We’ve tried all the other ways. We’ve seen all the other ways that don’t work. We’ve had all the missionaries who have tried to do it their own way. And after 170 years, trust us that the information is pretty well in, and the documentation is pretty clear, starting with the declaration in the scriptures themselves. That we are called to preach the gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter, and there is no other way and any other way is not of God. If you would just be that comfortable, actually it takes a lot of pressure off. It takes an incredible amount of pressure off of us individually. To just say it really is His work and He’ll do it and He can do it and He’s always done it and He will do it! These are His children to save. This is His work. He will do it, but He’s got to have an obedient and spiritually hungry missionary!
Do not look tired—this work can be done. That has been the work of all the dispensations since the beginning of time, and that’s the request that’s being made—accomplish! I love you. I love looking at you. I love seeing you. I know how you feel. I was once one of you and without this understanding once. Somehow, someday, somewhere, some of you will be asked to do this, and by that I don’t necessarily just mean the Apostleship, but preside over missions, preside over Stakes, preside over Relief Societies, be parents and raise kids and do that later part to build the kingdom that you’re starting to build now.
I’ve been your age and you haven’t been mine, but I do remember what it was like to sit here and have dreams and fears and hopes and wonder, wonder if you were about to do it, wonder if you’d be happy, wonder if you would work hard, wonder if you could succeed. Now, 38 years and one month later I tell you that it was the most important thing that ever happened to me in my life, that it’s brought so many blessings that have now become important and now take their place in my life, but which would not have happened, I’m absolutely confident they would not have happened, if it had not been for the privilege of a mission.
I love you. I testify of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose witness I am called to bear. I’ve born witness all my life, now I am a witness and so are you, for these two years we’re alike. All day, every day, full-time, full-bore, all we know and all we can do and all we can believe and all we can declare in the name of Christ, salvation of the children of men and the true and living Church. For these two years and these 18 months we’re alike. We’re all witnesses called. Mine goes a little longer, and I have some keys you don’t have. I belong to a quorum you don’t belong to, but in spirit and in effort, in the good we’re trying to do, and in the testimony we’re trying to bear, we’re the same. Part of your life is part of mine. Maybe that’s why I love you so much.
You look like future leaders of the Church, to testify of the divinity of this Church, of this work, and of God’s love, of His reality and His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith. And if there is anyone in the room who’s struggling with a testimony, you have one — mine! I’m giving my life to this. You’re giving two years. I’m giving my life! Everything I own, everything I possess is on the line. I would not come to Sao Paulo to tell you a fairy tale. I wouldn’t wear myself into the ground, nor would President Hinckley do the same for something we did not know beyond a shadow of a doubt was God’s almighty truth! Give me a little more credit than that! I’m not an absolutely stupid man. This is the truth! And I’m giving everything that I know to give for that declaration.
I had a missionary ask me once if I would give my life for the Church. I said, “Elder, I am giving my life for the Church.” I know what he meant. What he meant was, “Would you die for it?” Well, that’s the easy part. That’s a snap! On some days it looks really appealing. That’s the easy part, to die for it. Well, what God needs is people who will live for it, people who will go the distance, people who are in this race we’re talking about that will go all the way to the tape. And some may die along the way and that’s wonderful, but He needs people who will finish the work. He needs people who will wrap this up, and that’s the pledge I make to you, and that’s the pledge He asked. We’re in this together.
I wish we could give you all a hug. Sister Holland could hug the sisters, and I could hug the elders, but we don’t have time to do that either. But figuratively know that we would. Know that we do. Know that we love you and admire you and live for the day we’ll all be together in some big missionary reunion in heaven and we’ll invite Paul over and Peter and Isaiah and Alma and we’ll just have a good time talking about missionary service. It’s a great Brotherhood and Sisterhood and I express my love to you and declare the divinity of this work in the sacred, holy and redeeming name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

February 8, 2015

On Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Jeremy Carrigan <> wrote:

Yea I put a lot of moth balls in that box haha...sorry. I’m doing good just working here haven’t taught Paul since last week he got called into work for a week so he hasn’t had any time. Nothing really new my ears are fine, I slipped on ice the other day and messed up my ankle so I have been in the flat for the pass couple days. The picture of the cat was just an evil looking cat that we saw on the street. My companion elder gurney is really cool. he actually showed me that talk this morning I haven’t read it yet, he also showed me another one that you should listen to its called cast not away therefor your confidence but Jeffery r Holland I think it applies to like our whole family right now haha. Trunky means thinking for when you are home, so yea pretty much homesick trunky is really for the future and homesick is for the past. But yea haha. Kcs scripture case is too big to fit in my shoulder bag haha so Katy caught wind of my not so urgent at all predicament and she sent me that haha. I am sad that I can’t be there to help you move at all I wish was there do pack up all of our crap for the 5th time in my life and move it all again! Haha. Have you figured out what you are going to do with Zeus? As for my training I don’t like asking for help as you know... and I’m not very good at expressing my emotions until they boil over, as you know... I’m open and happy no matter what, elder gurney said that I’m like the happiest and not complaining missionary ever. But the difference is that I just hold it all inside and don’t let it show to everyone. I think its better that way I think, people don’t need to know my emotions out here. I can be here and be myself without having anyone know what’s going inside me, it’s all about your attitude about it, sure life can suck but if you don’t let it show and you’re just happy about it you can make it through anything, working at Walmart taught me that. The condition of your heart determines your level of happiness. That’s what I choose to do, not be private but also still not let it show if I’m sad or hurt or angry it’s just me I guess haha. But I hope it all works out for all of you guys back at home I’ve been praying for all of you and I hope it will all be ok in the end nothing is coincidence. I love you and have a good week I miss you guys a whole bunch!

Love Jeremy


Monday, February 2, 2015

email for Feb 2, 2015

Well holy crap mom! Lol that’s like the biggest news from the front that I’ve ever heard! That’s great for you guys! My records would be really great to stay in that ward I would like that haha. I’m not sad at all that your moving haha but if you ever run out of movers ask the ward or Alec or just like the whole youth lol they will come and help. That’s a huge step for you guys, you’ll be able to get your degree up there and be able to make more money than you ever have haha. I’m happy for you guys just don’t sell all my stuff! Haha. Kc will get somewhere I’m sure the only thing keeping him in Grand Junction was you guys I’m pretty sure haha. I’m doing good I’m teaching a really awesome guy right now he has served 19 tours of duty as a medical officer in the British royal army. He is pretty great and he is feeding us tea on Wednesday so I’m excited for that. as for my ear it is pretty much gone I don’t think I need any more antibiotics it should finish going away haha, I don’t feel any pressure at all  think it is just like left over stuff in my ear. but we did get snow I’ll send a picture of it and yea its going pretty good I got your 100 day package and everyone in the flat said it was the trunkyest package ever haha. But are you sending another one? Or is that the only one I should be looking out for? But just keep it up haha you guys are like the best parents anyone could ever ask for! I love you and I miss you and I wish I was there to help you pack. Have a good week!

Love Jer