This week has been typically busy! We set a baptismal date, taught many of our friends and neighbors, and find more people to teach every day.
Darrell and kids; Kaylin and Jaden
We saw Darrell this week and read Alma 17 with his family. He and his kids LOVED the lesson. They admired Ammon’s courage and were on the edge of their seats waiting to learn how King Lamoni reacted to Ammon’s bravery. We left them on a cliff-hanger; they’re going to have to read the rest of chapter 18 on their own if they want to find out how it ends!
We saw Kaylyn tonight and reviewed the Restoration lesson again, since it has been a while since she heard it. At this point, her dad’s permission and a visit with his pastor are formalities - she has decided to be baptized! Isaak (recent convert) came with us to her lesson - he has always loved coming to Kaylyn’s lessons, and we know is continuing to learn a great deal right alongside her. When we asked Kaylyn tonight what the “Keys” in Matt 16 described, she answered “is it the priesthood?” We know that she’s learning! She loves this branch and is excited to be a member.
Aaron investigated the church about a year and a half ago, but discontinued meeting, feeling that he wasn’t ready to make the required changes to progress. As often happens, he found the things which were once so satisfying, eventually unfulfilling, and troubles in his life brought to him memories of the peace he felt when he was reading his Book of Mormon and meeting with the missionaries; as well as the kind members he met when he visited years ago. Upon meeting with us, he agreed to be baptized on Feb. 10th!
We also have two new (among many that we find every week!) investigators that we’re excited about: Jason and Nathan
Jason is a young professional, unsatisfied with traditional religion. He’s looking for faith that MOVES, and and a belief system deeper than ankle-deep prosperity-gospel.
Nathan is a PE-Teacher and accomplished cross-country running coach, and former college athlete. He is looking to increase his faith, and found the premise of the Book of Mormon compelling.
Today is transfer p-day! Elder Airth is outta here! He’ll do great wherever he’s sent. I’ll be sticking around for another transfer at least - which is good, I really like this area!
One of the alarming trends I’ve seen in the church (and something I’ve often studied) in the many places I’ve served is the increasing tendency among church members to claim that to judge another person’s behavior or beliefs is wrong. They do not want to speak out against homosexuality, gender dysphoria (transgendered behavior) marijuana legalization, the sweeping influence of violence in media, and other evils. They misuse the savior’s condemnation against hypocrisy in Matt 7:1-2 and misinterpret the words of the same Master who said “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
This is misguided. Often in an attempt to get along with people with different (read: incorrect) beliefs, we fall victim to the same doctrine taught by an antichrist, Korihor, who taught that because we have freedom to choose there is no wrong choice. Because of a desire to be loved by the world, we often fail to warn our Brothers and Sisters about the sins they are committing, and too often people fail to warn us about the sins that we commit - all for fear of offending.
There is such a thing as an objectively wrong choice. There are some behaviors and actions that the Lord has condemned as wrong under any circumstances. It doesn’t matter how popular or “progressive” they may seem to be. It doesn’t matter if they are the choices of our friends or neighbors.
The Lord gave the Corinthians this counsel about judging, from which I think we can learn a lot:
“2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
In these verses, Paul is counseling the Corinthians to live righteously that they may be better qualified to judge between each other.
So what do we do? We must do our best to lovingly inspire righteous action in ourselves and others. We must condemn all sin - in the classroom, in the courtroom, in public and in private.
Do you not think that the Lord had this day in mind, of permissiveness and denying the strict commandments which he has given - with some members of the church endorsing homosexuality and gender-dysphoric behavior - when he warned us (in the Bible no less!) about how divisive his doctrine would be?
“33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
The Lord always knew that his doctrine would be divisive and unpopular. I think verse 33
(Above) should be considered carefully by those who refuse to take a stance on moral issues. If because we are unflinching in denouncing sin we are unpopular, we should not be surprised, since after all;
“18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
Have a great week everyone! Hold to the rod!
Elder Derek Troy