So… if you combine mine & Sister Arnold’s last names, we’re Arson!! And we live at the palace. So we decided that our new band name is “Arson at the Palace.” 😉 Aren’t we cool?
We performed a few musical numbers this week. One at skills & interviews, and one at a baptism yesterday. Fun fun fun.
Has anyone looked at the last page in the Ensign for this month? Just in time for me!
We had skills & interviews this week, where Sister Arnold and I gave an instruction about working with members. It went so well!
So, we were driving up Bramalea one day, which is the road that goes past the temple, and a guy pulls up beside us at a red light.
“You ladies having fun tonight?”
“Yeah! We’re going to church! Want to come?”
And then we had a wonderful ten second conversation about church and how he’s actually been looking for a church to attend. So I got out of the car and handed him a card before the light turned green. 😛 He’ll be baptized one day.
Brother T! He’s doing so well! We met with him again and he asked us even more “tricky” questions. And once again, he loved our answers.
Brother S is still struggling with his addiction. =( He’s been taught everything that he needs to know, and he’s given up coffee and alcohol, but tobacco has an awfully strong grip on him.
With all of these meetings we’ve been having in the mission, I’ve had 5 opportunities so far to share my “departing testimony.” I’m running out of things to say! The church is true! What more can I say?
I can’t remember if I’ve ever shared the following story with you. I don’t think I have, but I felt like I needed to share it with you this week.
So. I always knew that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true. The spirit confirmed that to me at a very early age. Because of that, knew that the Book of Mormon had to be the word of God.
I had a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon multiple times. Once, when Gordon B. Hinckley challenged everyone in … 2005? to read it before the end of the year, then I think I got to Alma. Whoops. I started over again when I entered Young Womens with a goal to read it cover to cover. At the efy summer camps, we have personal study time in the morning, where I’d read the Book of Mormon. I remember my second year at efy opening my scriptures and finding my bookmark exactly where I left it the year before…. whoops.
Then they changed the Personal Progress program, and they added the requirement to read the whole Book of Mormon, cover to cover. I picked off where I left off from efy and finished barely before my 18th birthday.
Of course, I prayed afterwards to know if it was true, and I don’t remember any miraculous answer. It didn’t really phase me.
Then, I went to University and my YSA ward had a reading schedule to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the semester. I read the scriptures on my phone on the way to school every morning on the train and finished a few weeks early. I read the whole Book of Mormon within the semester, but I didn’t really study it. I don’t know how much information I actually absorbed. That time when I prayed, I remember getting an answer like, “Silly Brooklyn. You know it’s true! Why are you asking me?” I was content with that answer.
Then I came on my mission. The people we were teaching weren’t progressing because they simply weren’t reading. We told them time and time again that they needed to read from the Book of Mormon if they wanted answers to their questions about the gospel. I knew that a testimony of the Book of Mormon was essential for our investigators. Also, people in Bowmanville were so mean! There were many people who hear misinformation about our church from their ministers and they were very vocal about it! They people we met on the streets kept trash talking Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and it was really getting me down! I wasn’t doubtful, because I still knew that the church was true, but I didn’t feel like my testimony was strong enough to really defend the Book of Mormon. I was a little worried that these people knew more about the history of the Book of Mormon than I did! So I decided to take my own advice and study from the Book of Mormon every day, and I set a goal to finish the Book of Mormon within the transfer (6 weeks). So I read every chance I had and truly studied it. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and study out the answers.
Side note: Never be afraid to ask questions. As long as you “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith,” diligently seeking answers is a wonderful way to strengthen your testimony.
I finished the Book of Mormon a week early. And I prayed.
It’s pretty easy to rationalize away previous spiritual experiences, my friends. Write them down!
Oh man talk about the Lord’s timing. So here I was serving a mission, wondering what on earth I was doing in Bowmanville, second guessing all my previous spiritual experiences.
I really really really really wanted the Book of Mormon to be true. I wanted to have unshaken faith like the other missionaries I served around. But I was just so darn confused. I even talked to my mission president about it, and he wasn’t very helpful.
And then, God sent an angry old man in a red shirt to cross my path.
Sister Hoki is a suuuper talented artist, so one day we went to the park and she drew the first vision on the sidewalk while I sang and talked to people passing by. This cranky old man walking a tiny little dog was one of them.
And oh BOY was he cranky. And mean!
People who want to bash are usually kinda sneaky about it. They start out seeming sincere, then all the sudden they attack! And they don’t hold back! Well this cranky old man was FULL of anti-misinformation. I don’t remember everything he said, but I do remember that he thought the Book of Mormon was one of the most blasphemous things he’d ever heard of in his life. Finally I asked him if he’d ever actually read the Book of Mormon.
“Of course not!” he said.
“You can’t possibly know if the Book of Mormon is true or not until you’ve read it!” Fuming. Oh man I was fuming!
I knew that the best way to deal with grumpy people was to just testify and walk away. Except I couldn’t just walk away because my companion was drawing on the sidewalk. And I was mad. So I took a deep breath and just testified.
“I know that the Book of Mormon is true, because I’ve read it.”
He scoffed and went on walking his tiny little dog.
I was pretty upset. Sister Hoki kept on drawing, and I flipped open the Book of Mormon. It landed on the chapter about Korihor. I thought that was pretty ironic.
Anyways, we started walking up to the church shortly after, and at some point, I started to cry. I was pretty distraught that so many people had so many terrible things to say about my faith, and was feeling terribly discouraged.
Poor Sister Hoki didn’t really know how to comfort me, so I went into the bathroom when we got to the church and soobbbeedddd. And then I prayed. My experience was very similar to Mosiah’s sons’ in Alma 17 when the Lord says to them, “Be comforted. And they were comforted.” It was that quick. And then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t possibly be that upset if everything that the grumpy old man said was true. I knew that the Book of Mormon was true- I felt it when I testified to him. Even though I wasn’t sure of the simple testimony I bore, when the words came out of my mouth, I felt it. And I felt it confirm once again in the Bowmanville chapel’s washroom.
Isn’t it funny how well God knows each of us individually? He had answered my prayers multiple times in the past, yet I was slow to remember them. He knew that I needed to have a weird, twisted experience that would force me to bare my own testimony to remind me of the truths I already knew.
In my next area, we were teaching Frank about the Book of Mormon. When I bore my testimony of it’s truthfulness, I knew I couldn’t deny it any longer. The spirit confirmed the truth of my words. The Book of Mormon is true! I’m certainly no Book of Mormon scholar, I still don’t understand Isaiah, and I still can’t tell you the order of all the books, but I do know how I feel when I read from it. “And now, if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement seat of Christ.” (Book of Mormon Title Page)
“Suffice it to say, I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets of God-that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wide and children are sealed to me for eternity. That is the choice we face- a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other. And for me, and I hope for you, the choice is an easy and rational one.” (Tad R. Callister “What is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church?)
Love you all. Study your scriptures. Feast upon the words of Christ. See you soon!