So first off I want to say, "I'm adjusted, I eat 3 meals a day...And get disciplined?...Yeah, they discipline me real good. With dictionaries. In a pillowcase." Cheers to whoever instantly knows the quote.
I will get to your questions shortly but before that I want to share a few thoughts that I put together this morning in poetry form. It felt inspired as I was writing it so hopefully this means something to some of you. Adjust the typing as the meter requires. Here goes.
Questions of the Soul
For every man, in every land
For every part of Earth.
There comes a question ringing clear,
"What is, WHY is, my worth?"
We ponder glancing face to face,
Is this OUR thought alone?
And then move on to lesser things,
"Oh look! things I could own."
Ashamed we bury this--our hope--
beneath the flashing lights
Move on to talking politics
or cheap and short delights
But still the human soul yearns on
wanting to search for truth.
Once more the spirit asks the heart,
"remember dreams of youth?"
Remember when we--long ago--
Could tell what's good and true?
Remember when I asked you
if there's something more for you?
We searched sometimes, young you and I,
for reason, purpose, light.
I saw a flicker here and there,
fulfillment, joy, and right
But life is hard, the struggle long,
the flickers fleeting, dim
To follow light, realize our worth,
means going on a limb.
"Too far," yells brain,"Not sure," says heart.
"You can," whispers the soul.
Once more the whisper comes to you:
"please do; you must; our goal!"
"Remember now! Think back!" it pleads,
"Remember, find the will!"
"A child of God," the heart recalls,
"Who guides and loves me still."
The answer rings with truth confirmed,
conviction blossoms now.
"Where am I from, where do I go?
This changes things, but how?"
"Turn to Christ," the soul provides,
"Yes, turn to Christ and live!"
"Give up your sins to know your God;
stop taking, start to give."
"It's change!" whines brain; "It's change, nods heart,
Change for the better, Child."
"Your purpose was before this world,
extends after you've died."
"I KNOW you're scared, I KNOW it's hard,
I KNOW you feel alone."
The Savior felt the weight of this,
for YOU He heaved a groan."
"The emptiness, the missing piece,
how you've felt you're not quite whole.
Your origin and destiny,
the questions of your soul."
"I offer you my outstretched hand,
all that I ask is knock.
The sands of man shift mightily,
Come build upon the rock."
"I offer peace, I offer hope,
I offer answers too.
Just kneel and follow me my Child,
For what I want is YOU."
But herein lies the tragedy,
The common fall of man.
"It's nothing," says our pride to us,
"There IS no outstretched hand."
"And if there was I'm too far gone,
Or too old now to change.
I need no more, I have enough,
besides, Mormons are strange."
"With all their talk of prophets, plates,
The Book of Mormon, ha!
More scripture? Well, I need no more,
And rules? They drop the jaw."
"You're right!" beams head, "but faith," cries heart,
"NO PLEASE!" the anguished soul.
"You can't quit now, we were so close!
But pride our victory stole."
And Christ our Lord begins to weep
hand still outstretched, his task.
"I am the answer, don't you see?!
Just read and pray! Just ask!"
"I've given you my words again,
through prophets, follow me!
I suffered everything for you,
oh please, please, won't you see?"
"I came to Earth, I found my path,
For YOU I came to die.
And sitting there, receiving this
Why won't you even try?"
We turn from them, our Savior's tears,
and call behind our backs
"I'm sorry, it's just not for me,
It's not YOU that I lack."
"MAybe you came and maybe not,
it's not for me to know.
Lord YOU are not enough for ME,
So on with life I go."
Leaving Him there, hand still outstretched,
in tear's 'cause you won't try,
"The next," he looks up hopefully,
"perhaps won't make me cry."
But men are weak and will not change,
And so He cries again.
For each of us who will not be
disciples, women, men.
And souls cry out to hearts and minds,
"I want to know what's true!"
:Quiet," we hiss with anger back,
"Forget your questions, too."
"I like my life just how it is,
don't bother me again!"
"I know that we had questions once
but that was way back when."
And on we go, on with our lives,
The soul grows quiet now.
We silence questions of the soul,
Questions of why and how.
We put our stock in other things,
find worth in things of naught,
Dismiss the questions of the soul,
Dismiss what Jesus taught.
Success and wealth may come to us,
we may be happy now.
But one day we'll face answers to
questions of why and how.
I suppose that Christ will weep for you
And I think I will too.
And when you look at me in shame,
I'll say "I DID tell you."
I tell you now that this Church and this Gospel are true. Jesus is the Christ and if we will turn to him and search for answers to the questions of our soul we can find them through Christ and His gospel. There is nothing that brings more happiness in this life or the next than the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Who you are in the above poem, the Child of God causing the Savior to weep, or the one who wishes to bring with him to the right hand of God, where his friend cannot go, you must realize that the poem and it's message are for you. Come unto Christ and build on Him as your foundation. You're never too far gone and His hand is always stretched out to you. Take it now. Follow the questions of the soul. And help those you know to follow Christ as well.
One of the great things about missionary work is that it's not up to us to decide who is ready. The book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for Everyone you have ever and will ever know because everyone in that group is a Child of God of infinite worth. I don't know everything about Christ or the Gospel. But I try to learn more every day. You are either closer to or farther away from God every day, and what you do with your time determines that.
So ask yourselves today, right now, who you are and why. Who built your foundation. What are the questions of your soul? And what have you done to answer them. Most of us live partial lives. Even in the gospel, we give a part of ourselves. Imagine if the Savior was willing to only give a part of Himself. Giving part of ourselves is an exercise in futility and misunderstanding. I learned a lot this week and talked a lot this week about GETTING it. About understanding our purpose. Not just as missionaries, but as people. As a missionary, I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, to say what He would say and Do what He would do. So right now I stand in His place and invite you to come unto him. Just as he pleads I plead. Don't you understand? Don't you get it? This is IT. This is the missing piece! The answers to the questions of the soul? How can you read this and say, oh what a nice young man? How can you see the truth and gloss over it nd return to your lives? How can you be IN the true church and not give your whole selves to the effort? Don't you get it??
But this is not a rant or a rave, the delusions of some boy you know. This is simply a plea from one who wears the name of Christ on my heart each day. Come to Christ, and live. Read the book of mormon and pray to your God with a sincere heart, asking for truth, asking for answers, asking how you can give your whole self to him, asking what you need to change about your life and yourself to come unto Him. He will show you through the missionaries. For goodness sakes, find out for yourself! Don't you get it? Won't you at least try to understand? I hope you will. I have. I know. That's why I'm here. It's not for an adventure and it's not for a language. It's to give all I can for as long as I can. I commit to doing all I can at this moment, now. I challenge you to evaluate your life and see what you can change to make that commitment too.
I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and that the true Church of Christ with all of it's authority and keys was restored to the Earth through Joseph Smith, a prophet of God. Deny these things as you will. I know of there veracity of myself and I will not have statements of relative truth or hiding from testimony stand in the way of saying to you , now, that I know these things and if you search truly, you will too. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and yours, amen.
It was a good week this week. Plenty of inspiration and spiritual edification. 2 of my district members (there were 8 elders and 6 sisters; now 6 and 6) left for Brazil this morning. Visas do happen! Thank all of you for the letters! You're all wonderful and I love you. My companion Elder L. is the new District Leader. He'll make a great one, he's a super solid guy. I'm loving your random facts and news and quote tidbits by the way. Dear Elder is always coming through as far as I know. Consider whether you are living through applications or DOCTRINES of the gospel and what the difference is. I love you all and challenge to evaluate how you can give all of yourself to Christ. Study hard and keep the faith. This is all true and worth it.
That is all.