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General Authority: If You Don’t Like Something, Like It

General Authority: If You Don't Like Something, Like It

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the First Quorum of the Seventy and counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency, recently visited a few missions in Japan and gave one piece of advice that stood out to me. One missionary described in this way (emphasis mine):

We had a mission tour by Elder Choi of the Asia North Area Presidency! It was a very inspirational conference and it motivated me a lot. Pretty much, he told us to take things we don’t like and to just LIKE IT. His focus was on natto but he really said to just take anything you DONT LIKE and then LIKE IT. He also had a lot to say about marriage. Haha as soon as he brought it up, in my mind I was like “NO STAHP I STILL HAVE TEN TRANSFERS LEFT!” But by the end I left kinda wanting to get married as soon as I get home haha.

Another missionary (from another mission) wrote a blogpost titled “If you don’t like it, LIKE IT”. In it he said (emphasis mine):

Then the last thing that I’ll mention about it, is something that anyone can apply into their lives. It is the subject line, and a quote from Elder Choi. If you don’t like something, Like It. If you live in Seattle and you don’t like the rain, you can either continue on and be depressed because it’s Seattle, and there is always rain, or you can learn to like the rain, and have a good life. I plan on trying to apply that into my life a little bit more.

I will say that the advice is not horrible, but comes off as trite and incomplete. I am writing this blogpost to, first, highlight that this is the message that a General Authority is teaching to missionaries and, second, to add additional advice and completeness to his comments.

When I first read this advice I immediately wondered what he was talking about. Is he talking about being a missionary? Being obedient to mission rules? Doctrines of the church? Is this a Freudian slip in which he hints at how he handles things about the Church that he doesn’t like?

Many people are currently leaving the Church (some say “in droves”), is this the response they would get? “If you don’t like the teachings of the Church, the Church’s stance on gay marriage, the incessant phobia of pornography, the widespread conservatism of its American members, the apocalypticism, the many meetings, the three hour block, etc.—well, just like it!” I hope not.

So, what have others said about what to do when you encounter something you don’t like?

WikiHow has an article titled “How to Do Something You Don’t Like”. Go read it! They suggest:

  1. Be aware of the task
  2. Identify what it is that you don’t like
  3. Prepare yourself in advance
  4. Try to enjoy it!
  5. See the goal/end
  6. Don’t be too harsh on yourself
  7. Reward yourself
  8. Surround yourself with family and/or friends
  9. Let it out!
  10. See the bigger picture

Well, Elder Choi’s advice does match #4. Certainly he would probably agree with some of these, but not other. It’s would be difficult for a missionary to do #8 because they are specifically instructed not to call and talk with family. #9 would probably not go over well in the mission culture as well.

I did find one interesting piece of advice from someone on line: “Stop doing shit you don’t like”

I also found two great  quotes about the topic:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” —Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” —Mary Engelbreit

There you go. If you don’t like something the first piece of advice from Maya and Mary are to change it.

An Apostle is Coming. Hurry Up and Baptize!

An Apostle is Coming. Hurry Up and Baptize!

Missionaries often get excited when they hear a General Authority will be visiting. They often plan to arrive early to the meeting. They also speculate what he (yes, he) will speak or chastise them about. Elder Bednar usually asks that they read his 3-4 most recent General Conference talks as preparation.

Apparently Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 will be visiting Japan Kobe Mission on May 22nd (as a side note, Elder Stevenson apparently has been appointed to oversee Asia–he visits there quite a bit. He picked his son recently who finished a mission in Taiwan).

Anyway. Back to the story.

In preparation for Elder Stevenson’s visit in 10 days, the missionaries received a challenge “that every companionship in the mission would see a baptism before he comes to speak to us.”

Here is the missionary’s report in larger context:

At the beginning of last week we learned that Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles would be coming to visit us on the 22nd of May! Along with this information we received a challenge- that every companionship in the mission would see a baptism before he comes to speak to us. Honestly, my first thought when I looked at the calendar was that we only have three weeks to find someone to be baptized, and we didn’t have anyone that we were currently teaching that was very close to receiving baptism. But I am constantly being reminded that this is not the work of man, but the work of God.

14 Million Active Mormons? Yes, If It Makes the Math Work Out Nicely

14 Million Active Mormons? Yes, If It Makes the Math Work Out Nicely

Back in February of this year Elder Nelson visited the Philippines Quezon City North Mission. While visiting the mission he performed a math trick while talking to the missionaries in which he implied that out of the 15 million members of the church 14 million are active and 1 million are inactive.

Elder Nelson explained the story in Judge 7 in which Gideon’s army of originally 32,000 warriors was reduced to 300–the purpose being that, in victory, God’s intervention would be made clear. He then compares that to number of Midianites which he claims was 150,000 (Judges 8:10 hints at an army of 135,000–close enough).

Taking the ratio of Midianites to Israelites, he than said Gideon’s army was outnumbered 500 to 1!

How many people are living today? 7,000,000,000.

How many people are Mormon? The missionary summarizes Elder Nelson’s answer: “15 million members although not all are active so let’s say 14 million.”

What’s 7,000,000,000 to 14,000,000? That’s right: 500 to 1!

This is the missionaries summary in larger context:

One of the highlights I wanted to share from the meeting was a portion of President Nelsons talk.  Near the end he was talking about facing the odds and doing the impossible.  He pointed out that God is a God of miracles and he tends to favor the unlikely.  For example Abraham’s Wife Sarah gave birth at 90 years old.  Christ was born of the virgin Mary.  I thought he was then going to go onto the strippling warriors, but instead he went to the book of Judges chapter 7.  At this point Gideon is getting ready to battle the Midionites to free the Israelites.  In the beginning there were around 30,000.  The Lord tells Gideon, that that is too many, the people will think they did it by their own strength.  So Gideon tells everyone that is afraid to leave and there remains 10,000 soldiers.  The Lord says that is is still too many, so they go to the river side to drink and whoever kneels and puts their mouth in the stream gets to leave, and anyone that cups the water in their hands stays.  After this there is 300.  Then the Lord says Perfect, 300 is all I need to free Israel! President Nelson then pointed out that later in the book of Judges we learn that the army of the Midionites is about 150,000.  So we have 150,000:300 or simplified 500:1.  Seems impossible but they won!  So 500:1 is just right! He then pointed out that in 1830 when the church was restored, there were 3-4 billion people on the earth and just the handful of members.  Now there are 7 billion and 15 million members although not all are active so let’s say 14 million, so 7Billion:14Million, what are the odds? 500:1 Just right, it’s a fair fight! Then President Nelson said something that I think I’m going to keep as a theme for the rest of my life “If you are doing impossible things, That’s Just Right!  The Lord wants to stretch you and help you grow!”

 

Problems in Armenia: From One to Zero Stakes

Problems in Armenia: From One to Zero Stakes in Armenia

Nearly three years ago Elder Nelson formed the first stake in Armenia, the first officially Christian state who adopted Christianity as the official religion in 301 AD.

At the time, Elder Nelson said, “We have good [Church] leadership here, strong people in the gospel.”

Fast forward to last week when the blog LDS Church Growth broke the news that there was “Apostasy in Armenia” (though some have complained the headline is misleading).

Apparently, there was a special stake conference a few weeks ago in which “Elder Katcher and Klebingat of the Seventy came to speak” and they dissolved the stake by making it a district once again, under control of the Armenia Yerevan mission president.

One missionary reported (emphasis mine):

Sunday was Stake Conference, this is all I’m talking about so hold on tight, Elder Klebingat and Elder Kacher from the Seventy came.  Elder Klebingat got up first and announced that the Stake was converted to a district, the President of the Stake was released and the keys are now with President Carlson.  A district just means that it’s under the direction of the Mission Presidency instead of the members in Armenia.  As soon as the changes were announced, One third of the people got up and walked out.  My heart broke, just like the hosts in heaven 1/3 walked out. I had to watch 1/3 of my brothers and sisters walk out of that building and I’m willing to bet that the feeling I felt was somewhat after the manner that I felt when one third of God’s children walked out after the council in heaven.  This time some may come back, but for some that could be the last time they come to church in this life.  I’m still recovering a bit…

They all gave wonderful talks.  Elder Kacher shared the story of the early saints in Utah building the Salt Lake Temple.  They sacrificed everything, they barely had any food or belongings to build this only for the foundation to crack.  They had to pull it out again and build it anew.  He told us that this change was us pulling out the old cracked foundation and putting in a new one.
Sister Carlson’s talk was pretty much a big stand against the people who had blamed the missionaries for all the changes.  She said that they only send the best missionaries to Armenia and the only sin that the missionaries have is that they love the Armenians too much.
Elder Klebingat invited us all to reflect back on our own testimonies and asked where they were centered on.  He asked if big changes came into our lives like this would we be able to stand on our own testimony.  He invited us to review our testimonies and to enforce them.  He also said that when Christ was about to be crucified he asked he each of his apostles “will you also go away?”  He asked us this many times.  It really got me thinking.  Would a big change like this change where I stand?  Would I also go away after Christ is gone?  Would I too go away?  I refuse to believe that I will go away.  I will not go away.  He finished his talk very powerfully by saying, “I’m not a liar, I have many faults, I’m not perfect, But i do not lie.  I know that this Church is true.”
President talked about how when we serve God we need to serve with all our heart might mind and strength. If you do see this President, I’m sorry but for some reason I can’t remember your talk at all.  That was my bad…
I’ve seen a lot more than I wanted to see this last week of what people can do.  I’ve seen to many of my brothers and sisters leave in the course of one week, so I just ask “Will you also go away?”  If you do I promise I will be two feet behind,, bringing you back.   I refuse to see more of my brothers and sisters leave the true church.  The Book of Mormon is truly from God and Joseph Smith trasnslated it through the power of God.  President Monson is God’s living prophet on this earth today and I had that reconfirmed to me at Stake Conference.  Ben once asked me how could someone who had served a full time mission leave the church.  I would add to that how could someone that has partaken from the Tree of Life, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, go away?  This church is true.  No matter what happens, this church is true.  I also know that the Gospel is true and we stay true to the church which is the vehicle to keep us on the path back to our Heavenly Father.  I am glad Dad made us memorize Helaman 5:12 “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall “.

Another missionary reported (emphasis mine):

Well. Probably one of the craziest weeks yet. Things have really changed here. We had stake conference yesterday and it was crazy, seeing as all of Armenia is just one big stake so all of the members in Armenia gathered together in Yerevan, and Elder Katcher and Klebingat of the Seventy came to speak to us.

They announced that the Armenian stake will no longer be a stake. We have been moved back to a district under the direction of the mission. All of the wards, including Vanadzor ward, were changed back to branches. WOW.

Basically we are starting from the beginning. Things had gotten pretty bad and we are just pruning the tree so that it can grow bigger and bear fresh fruit. things will mostly be run by the mission president now and the missionaries.

The most important callings that they wanted to focus on is the ward clerk, so that none of this sketchy business goes on again. So they decided to have some of the missionaries serve as clerks for the branches, and of course, I got called to serve as the branch clerk for Vanadzor.

It will be very interesting to see how we will manage to do this as well as missionary work but the Lord will help me so no worries. More to come in the near future. We still aren’t sure on which members are going inactive, which leaders will stay or anything. Lots of stuff going on, but it is all for the betterment of Zion in Armenia.

This work will go on no matter what. I love this work and I am so proud to be here representing Christ, building Zion.

So, it seems there was some widespread problems in several wards and possibly at the stake level. My guess would be they were financial in nature as missionaries we asked to take over clerking responsibilities.

In fact, in one Armenian LDS Facebook group someone who seemed to have knowledge of the changes wrote (emphasis mine):

It is true. The real reason was misappropriation of funds/finances, pretty much theft. Numerous people, mostly bishops, even the stake leadership, were involved. Truly sad. This will set the church back years in Armenia.

Some more discussion of this has happened here, here, and in the comments here. Some Reddit posts that discuss it are here and here.

Compilation of My Jeffrey Holland Posts

Compilation of My Jeffrey Holland Posts

Given the recently leaked audio of Elder Jeffrey Holland speaking at a YSA Devotional meeting in Arizona a few weeks ago, I was asked by a reader to compile my posts about some of Elder Holland’s messages and actions while visiting missions–as reported by missionaries. Here they are:

Elder Holland Is At It Again

Elder Holland Is At It Again

We’ve written about some of the weird stories that missionaries have posted online regarding Jeffrey Holland’s mission trips (see here, here, and here).  Some of the stories included him getting heated, lunging at missionaries, grabbing and shaking a sister missionary’s hair, telling missionaries he will hunt them down if they leave the church, and that he hasn’t “devoted [his] life to a Fairy Tale.”

Well, he’s at it again.

Elder Holland recently visited the Peru Cusco Mission and some repeats of his visit are coming in.

Elder Brandon Neilson wrote (emphasis mine):

President informed us that Elder Holland received specific information about some missionaries who were being less than obedient, he received specific names that he then proceeded to give to President Harbertson. Insane right hahah. President had interviews with all those missionaries after the conference. (dont worry i wasnt one of them) And yes Elder Holland did literally smack some people in the face and strangle them during the whole mission meeting. It was super cool!

Elder Holland is report specific missionary names to the mission president because somehow he knows they are “less than obedient.” And, more importantly, he “literally” smacked and strangled a missionary and everyone thought it was “super cool”? If he can get away with that then he can probably get away with about anything.

Another missionary corroborates that Elder Holland is a snitch:

Yes, as Dad said in his email, our Mission President interviewed people that were not doing well according to Elder Holland, but luckily I wasn’t one of em 🙂

How did Elder Holland know who were the disobedient missionaries? He interviewed them, of course! Two missionaries describe these “interview.” Here is the first:

At 10 o clock we were seated in the chapel waiting for Elder Holland. Wow. I don`t think I can express everything that was mentioned or everything that I felt. He arrived at 12 (is plane was late) and he shook each one of our hands. He said he did it each to give us a interview and see if we were okay. Then he talked. He walked around the room as he talked. It was a classic Elder Holland talk. He talked a lot about the obedience and the reality of who the missionaries are.

Here is the second:

In the beginning, he shook all of our hands and looked us in the eyes as we told him our names and where we were from. It was amazing. He spoke about obedience.

Here is the third:

We got to shake his hand, and he said he did that so he could have a mini personal interview with us, and that through just looking into our eyes he could tell if we were okay or not. Talk about having the spirit!

Here Are Some of the New Area Plans from Around the World

Here Are Some of the New Area Plans from Around the World

 

Philippines Area Plan (link):

1. Obey
2.covenant
3. establish.
As we show out love for the lord by obeying all his commandments we can make covenants with this through baptism and in the temple that will help us establish families strong in the gospel.

 

Europe Area Plan (Link):

To Bring Us to Him–Him being Jesus Christ
Omni 1:26  “I would that ye should come unto Christ…and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption.”

Three Simple Steps:
1.  Bring a friend.
2.  Become spiritually and temporally self-reliant.
3.  Find an Ancestor.

Ward Goals for 2016
1.  Increase average attendance by 20 through missionary work, reactivation and retention.
2.  Increase the number of endowed Temple Recommend holders by 14.
3.  Achieve 95 submissions to the temple using support and encouragement.

Relief Society Goals for 2016
1.  Support all of the above.
2.  Take upon ourselves the attributes of Jesus Christ.

The Europe Area Presidency gave this message:  “We hope for all to come unto Christ.  As we apply the three priorities, our faith will increase and we will have a greater sense of peace and security.  We will see people living joyfully, delighting in the Sabbath, preparing to go to the temple, and receiving ordinances and making covenants necessary for the exaltation of their families.

 

Africa Southeast Area Plan (Link, Link):

  1. Increasing faith in God and Jesus Christ
  2. Loving and serving one another
  3. Building members’ ability to build self-reliance in both spiritual and temporal matters

 

Africa West Area Plan (Link):

The objectives of the 2016 Plan are:

  • Build faith in Christ
  • Focus on Ordinances
  • Encourage and Strengthen the Rising Generation

To achieve this vision leaders and members of the Church need to focus on the following goals:

  • Increased tithing faithfulness of adult members
  • Increase sacrament meeting attendance
  • Increase temporal self-reliance
  • Increase in convert baptisms
  • Increase age appropriate holders of the priesthood
  • Increase the number of members attending the temple
  • Increase the number of young members serving or having served missions

 

Pacific Area Plan (LinkLink):

Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  With that in mind the  Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked Church members for focus on four key objectives as part of their vision in 2016 to “strengthen families and individuals by increasing faith and trust in Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ and His Atonement”. The objectives are:

1. Honour the Sabbath day at home and at Church
2. Increase Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance
3. Hasten the Work of Salvation
4. Seek the blessings of the temple.

 

Mexico Area Plan (describe here):

“The Area Presidency puts a lot of focus on the self sufficiency so that the missionaries have less responsibility and the members can do more. A lot of people are just so young in the church so they still dont really understand how the church works yet but with time it will get better.

“The new area plan came out for 2016. I felt a little weird because i remember when the plan of 2015 came out. It is a similiar plan and its perfect to help strengthen the church for us. It focuses a lot on the daily prayer and scripture study, paying tithing, keeping the day of rest, doing temple work, and simple things like that so that the members become more converted and receive more blessings in their life.”

 

We blogged about the 2015 Mexico Area Plan here:

1. Fast with faith, pay a generous fast offering and a full tithe
2. Everyday help someone to receive the teachings and ordinances of the gospel that will help them return to our Heavenly Father
3. Find names of your own ancestors and provide the ordinances for them in the temple.

Returned Missionary Commitment–Signature Required

Returned Missionary Commitment--Signature Required

New Worldwide Theme for Missionary Work for 2016

New Worldwide Theme for Missionary Work for 2016

Last May we posted an article in which we described that missionaries were being told what a new emphasis in the Church was going to be: “Sabbath Day Observance”. Our reporting was spot on. There have been multiple Sabbath Day Trainings at every level of the Church, such as this one.

We now are ready to report what one missionary is calling (emphasis mine in all quotes on this page) “some super big changes, worldwide; for one, there is a new them for missionary work, direct from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: what they want us to focus on is to ‘Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts.’ Five simple words, specifically chosen and ordered.” Another missionary specifically says “it comes from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and the mission department.” Reportedly, there is a worldwide meeting to be held tomorrow Jan. 20th. I assume this new theme, as well as changes to how transfers will happen (see below), will be presented and discussed then.

The mission president of the California Fresno Mission explains how this is supposed to help with large attrition rate of recent converts:

“Too often RCs fall away quickly from activity in the Church because they don’t know how to repent.  They experienced a remission of their sins as part of their baptism but when they return to sin, something we all do, they may not understand how to repent and then deem themselves unworthy to be in, or even come to the Church.”

In other words, converts stop attending church because they sin and remain in sin.

I recently googled the new missionary work phrase “teach repentance and baptize converts” and received less than 20 results (all written since the beginning of this year and all written by LDS missionaries). So, this does indeed appear the new worldwide theme for missionary work in the Church. Below are a collection of missionary comments about this new theme.

  • Sister Samantha Haacke, Taiwain Taipei, posted Jan. 4, 2016: “There will also be a worldwide Broadcast for all missionaries around the world on January 20th from Salt Lake so that will be really cool.  The new theme from the Brethren is to Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. In MLC, we focused mostly on the importance of teaching repentance and how essential this is to the retention of keeping converts. It made me really excited because this is an area in my missionary work that I could really improve on. Sister Jergensen gave a great training on Repentance and used a parable John 2 that I will share at the end of my email. Overall, a great day!” (LINK)
  • Sister Tara Facer, Taiwain Taipei Mission, posted Jan. 11, 2016: “We also had surprise interviews with President Jergensen this week! I love that man so much.  He’s just so loving and makes you want to be better. He basically told me to set a goal of how many people I want to see baptized before I go home, and make it happen.  Also, my mission vision is now nothing but “teach repentance and baptize converts”.  To go along with that, I had Mosiah 26:30 for my ponderize scripture this week.  Haha sorry I’ve been forgetting to include that! It basically says as many times as you repent, I’ll forgive you.  That’s so great, right? I think I’ll try to share it on the street this week” (LINK)
  • Elder Sequoia Ploeg, Taiwan Taipei Mission, posted Jan. 10,2016: “There’s been some super big changes, worldwide; for one, there is a new them for missionary work, direct from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: what they want us to focus on is to “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts.” Five simple words, specifically chosen and ordered. Missionaries are to focus on helping people truly repent, and be actually prepared for baptism (way too often are people baptized and immediately thereafter stop coming to church). Baptizing converts is focusing on people who have already been converted and baptism is the outward expression of such a commitment, as opposed to the process of being baptized as a formality and then continuing to try to attain conversion. I think it’s a really cool sentence, and we’ve been applying it a lot more in missionary work. // Another really big change is that from now on, the missions (worldwide) will not hold transfer meetings, but instead, when we’re transferring, we’ll receive a phone call giving us our new companion, new area, and a phone number, and then we’ll simply get on a train or a bus and travel there alone to meet our new companion. So there will be occasions where we won’t have a companion. That’s going to be super strange feeling. But, they want us to have more time in our areas, less distractions,  more hard work. So that’s fun.” (LINK)
  • Sister Cecily Roberts, Taiwan Taipei Mission, posted Jan. 11, 2016: “We had zone meeting. Which was good but they decided to do it all in Chinese so I didn’t really get much from it even though I had a couple sisters translating for me. But they are really emphasizing “teach repentance and baptize converts” in the mission field right now. And it’s great because repentance is what will help people be converted for the rest of their lives. Repentance allows you to have a personal interaction with the Savior and His atonement. And it changes you. That’s exactly what repentance is. awesome.” (LINK)
  • Sister Rebecca Cardon, New Mexico Farmington Mission, posted Jan. 4, 2016: “I also went to my first normal Missionary Leadership Council (MLC)!  That was pretty exciting!  We came up with the phrase “In the New Mexico Farmington Mission we represent Jesus Christ as we find, teach repentance, and baptize converts” which is now our culture phrase in the mission.  I’m looking forward to the day when every missionary has this has the single intent in their missionary work.  As all the missionaries here have that focus we’re going to be accomplishing miracles! 😀  Unified missionaries are much better than not.” (LINK)
  • Elder Christian Hall, Texas San Antonio Mission, posted Jan. 11, 2016: “What else should I talk about? Oh, President Slaughter visited our district meeting with his wife. I’d never had a visit from him to a district meeting. He taught us about our responsibility to teach repentance, and baptize converts. We’ll be receiving a telecasted mission training in a week or so, and we are preparing for that.” (LINK)
  • Elder Alex Horrocks, California Fresno Mission, posted Jan. 13, 2016: “Oh by the way I don’t know if you watch video’s or if I’ve sent you videos but “In the CFM We Baptize” has changed.  It is now “In the CFM We Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts” and that just has a greater significance to it because before we were just kind of baptizing people just to baptized people, but now it’s going to more of the future perspective.  We’re going to start with the end in mind.  These people are going to go through the temple and do other great things but the only way that’s going to happen is to find them through the members.  That’s when real converts go and progress and they have a friend next to them.  I saw some numbers and we had ten or twelve thousand member presence last year and this year (I could be wrong) but I think it was twenty thousands member presence.  That’s a HUGE difference!  That’s 8,000 more times using the the members.” (LINK)
  • Elder Tyrel Munro, Texas San Antonio Mission, posted Jan. 4, 2016: “As well as this scripture, our mission got a new Missionary Purpose Statement that really focuses on the importance and sacredness of our calling: ‘I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, called of Him through prophecy and revelation, and assigned to serve in the Texas San Antonio Mission.  I have been sent to teach repentance and baptize converts.  This is who I am and this is why I am here! I invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. My decision has been made. I’ve put my hand to the plough. I’ve crossed the line.  So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Every Sister, every Elder, all in!’ ” (LINK)
  • Elder Richard Hall, Texas San Antonio Mission, posted Jan. 11, 2016: “I have been sent to teach repentance and baptize converts.” (LINK)
  • Elder Zachary Gehring, Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission, posted Jan.11, 2016: “This week we adapted a new slogan for the mission. It comes from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and the mission department. ”In our mission we teach repentance and baptize converts” In Mosiah 18:20 we learn that they were sent to teach nothing save repentance to the people. They were all baptized. Thats our goal! ” (LINK)
  • Elder Garrett Krauss, New Mexico Farmington, posted Jan. 4, 2016: “MLC for most of the day at President’s home. We got the opportunity to find out what the Lord wants the culture of the mission to be for the next couple of years. We settled on: In the New Mexico Farmington Mission we represent Jesus Christ as we find, teach repentance, and baptize converts. It’s simple, it provides a clear directive, and it enables missionaries, members, and nonmembers alike to grow and progress and become more like Christ in the process of coming unto Him. I love it.” (LINK)
  • Sister McKenna Wright, Taiwan Taipei Mission, posted Jan. 5, 2016: “I hope you all take some time to make some resolutions, some goal that will help you progress as an individual and help bring you CLOSER TO JESUS CHRIST. I love it:) My current goal: teach repentance and baptize converts” (LINK)
  • Elder Cody Crandall, California Bakersfield Mission, posted Jan. 11, 2016: “As a Bakersfield Mission We Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts!” (LINK)
  • Sister Megan Dean, Texas San Antonio Mission, posted Jan. 4, 2016: ” President Slaughter sent the new one in his email today. It helps us see our purpose as missionaries even more clearly. ‘I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, called of Him through prophecy and revelation, and assigned to serve in the Texas San Antonio Mission. I have been sent to teach repentance and baptize converts…’ ” (LINK)
  • Sister Abbie Waite, Texas San Antonio Mission, posted Jan. 4, 2016: “This week we had a wonderful Mission Leadership Council (where the leaders of the mission-zone leaders, sister training leaders, etc. gather to discuss the needs of the mission). One of the main topics was our missionary purpose. President Slaughter pointed out that the scriptures tell us of a strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life. In order to get onto that path, one must enter through the gate. The gate is repentance and baptism (see 2 Nephi 31:17). Thus, our “laser-focused objective”, as he called it, is to teach repentance and baptize converts. 
    Coming out of MLC I had two goals. Number one: Floss every day. (The goals you make when your mission president also happens to be a dentist. Don’t worry! I’m doing a lot better! Someone tell Dr. Platt! Haha!) Number two, the most important: TEACH REPENTANCE AND BAPTIZE CONVERTS. 
    That night we had a lesson with a woman named Patricia. As we taught her the wonderful message of the Restoration, all I could think the whole time was: “Am I teaching repentance so that we can baptize a convert?” As we taught, there were several moments of silence as we allowed Patricia to ponder. We asked her how she felt after hearing of Joseph Smith’s experience in the Sacred Grove, and she took a long time to think about it. She finally answered that she could not imagine having that happen to her. It was then that we were able to testify to her that although Christ Himself was not visible in the room, we were His representatives. We invited her to be baptized and she said: “I cannot deny an invitation from my Savior.” All was sailing smoothly, until we invited her to church. She told us that she worked only on Saturday andSunday in order to provide for her family and would not be able to worship with us. Immediately, my missionary purpose came to mind: “TEACH REPENTANCE AND BAPTIZE CONVERTS!!
    We, as a mission, know what we are to do: TEACH REPENTANCE AND BAPTIZE CONVERTS. Now, as we continue to do so, we must discover who we are and who we can and need to become. We can say that we teach repentance and baptize converts, but until we get to the point that we are actually to believe and internalize that as our purpose, nothing will happen. We must catch the vision of what a disciple of Christ truly is. This is not a temporary calling; this is eternal. ” (LINK)

 

Elder Holland, Missionaries, and “Fairy Tales”

Elder Holland, Missionaries, and Fairy Tales

Elder Holland has said some interesting things recently during mission tours (i.e. that he would “hunt you down” if you left the church and he had some “heated” discussion accompanying “slapping”).

Well, once again one missionary serving in Arizona wrote an interesting quote from Elder Holland (emphasis of quote is mine):

I learned a lot of things in that training session with Elder Holland. But the biggest thing a took away from that is, “I didn’t devote my life to a Fairy Tale. I’m Not Stupid.” This is real. Nothing that I know about the Gospel is false. It is absolutely true. Without a doubt. And nothing can change my mind.

Of course saying “I’m not stupid” echoes language he used in his BBC interview when he said “I’m not an idiot. I’ve read a couple books and been to a pretty good school. And I have chosen to be in this church because of the faith that I feel and the inspiration that comes…And I’d like to think that your respect for me would be enough to know that this man doesn’t seem like a dodo.”

But I’m also curious why he felt the need to say that he hasn’t devoted his “life to a Fairy Tale”.

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