Let's see here. Yah know, one thing people always say is that the Christmases you spend on a mission will be the best. Hmm. Last Christmas was hard, but this one... this one was amazing. The kindness shown to us was outstanding. I still can't get over the fact that when the members heard we would not have presents, they went out and got presents for 200 missionaries! Sho!
Meet the Mormons (movie) is absolutely outstanding! President Dunn pulled some strings and apparently we were the first group of people in all of Africa to see it haha. Powerful.
The work is going good, we are starting to have more contact with the stake so that we can find out what to do next. Hopefully, if all goes well, by June we will have a group here. Hopefully. That will take about 100 miracles, but it is so very possible. We have no one set to get baptized. 95% of our work is with the members.
We have a less-active young man that comes out with us by the name of Washington. This dude is great! I've been here like 8 or 9 weeks now, and the change in him has been amazing! He has begun teaching at lessons and, wow, does it make a difference. The other day this black dude was being a fool and asked Washi "Do you really believe we all come from Adam and Eve?" To which he responded "Well, God said it." I think you kind of had to be there and know him to understand the significance of that statement, but his faith is skyrocketing and it is amazing to see.
So, last night when we got home I was... annoyed to say the least. And when I'm aggravated I write. So what I wrote will just have to work as the spiritual thought for the day because I had no time to make anything else.
Please allow for grammatical and spelling errors. I have 20 minutes to type all this haha.
Driving down the road, a quick search of google, or a brief moment of concentration, will reveal to anyone with faith and a brain that the world is facing a fairly serious problem. Christianity is failing to be of "one mind" (Phillipians 1:27) as admonished countless times in holy writ. Many wonder why unity within belief systems based upon Christ matters. Matthew 7:13-14 is pretty clear in explaining why disunity will be a pitfall and a stumbling block for millions. In main stream Christianity is the path not broad? Is it not acceptable, even common practice, to ignore entire principals of the gospel for the sake of ease and convenience? Are there not millions who think that simply being "born again" is a free pass through those great and pearly gates? How is it that we have come to consider Christ as a lenient and flexible God? Is He not the one who taught that the very though of transgression is in and of itself a sin? (Matthew 5:27-28.)
In our day there are thousands of creeds and denominations who profess the sacred name of Christ and put forth tampered ideology for the sake of popularity. Don't believe me? Consider this: it is very clear throughout all of the scriptures that homosexuality is a very abominable sin (Genesis 18:19, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27.) But what are thousands of denominations doing today? They are accepting, and in some cases, even supporting it because it is now the "cool thing" to do. They fail to do what Christ wants, because they prefer what popular conception wants. They would rather be revered for desecrating the name of Him who they claim to profess than suffer the persecutions of the world. Even the Catholic Church, an institution that used to follow the death penalty protocol outlined in Leviticus, is now showing signs of leniency upon the issue. Just what are these people playing at? Because their actions show quite plainly that they do not seek to progress the work of Christ. (If anyone has a problem with what I have said regarding homosexuality take it up with God not me, they are not my commandments.)
Christ himself has declared "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6.) Just as the Creator does not change, neither do His commandments nor doctrines. The tides and pulls of the world may effect the desire of common ideology, but now and forever truth will remain truth. Commandments will remain in place and the consequences of transgression will remain in force.
Any church, organization, or creed who fails to uphold the basic doctrines of the gospel is not only a false imitation of a Christian organization, but it is steadfastly leading its followers into the grasp of Satan. Ironic eh? People seeking to follow Christ are actually being led away by those who profess His name and "doctrines." (If anyone is already offended stop reading now, this is a rant, and by nature it will only get worse. However, if you have an open heart, there just may be a lot to learn from this.)
If we seek to make our faith in Christ convenient by choosing what commandments to follow and aligning ourselves with the popular dictates of men we will fall by the way. If we place our love of man above our love of God the "mists of darkness" (1 Nephi 8:23) will overtake us and the "strait and narrow path" (1 Nephi 8:20) leading to eternal life will be shrouded from our eyes.
Ephesians 4:5 states "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." Who is our one Lord? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Simple... right? One faith? As defined, in one sense (and the only sense that happens to make sense in this context), is a system or set of beliefs. So there is one set of beliefs. Simple... right? One baptism. We are to be baptized in the same manor as the Savior, for was He not the perfect example. Simple...right? But... are there not those who profess that Christ is a spirit? And others who explain Christ possesses a body? Are these descriptions of different Christs? Now, there are those who say that these "little" details are of no consequence because we all pray to God. But if we all pray to different forms of the "same" God, wouldn't they in fact be individual forms of different gods? (Please note, this could be rewritten in the context of faith or baptism. There is no unity.) Let us for just one moment consider peaches and plums. Both are fruits, and in some ways you can argue that that are the same. Both are soft, both are juicy, and both have soft skin. Yet, the fact remains that peaches are not plums, nor are plums peaches. These two objects in question are fairly similar, but it would be futile to attempt and prove they are unified. So, if two objects being similar are not the same, how could two thought processes based upon the Savior, being diametrically opposed, converge on solid ground? It does not work. It can not work. It will not work.
You see, the world has placed before us a very broad path. The world teaches that any and all beliefs are fine to believe. However, last time I checked, all rational and capable human beings are desiring the strait and narrow path to heaven, not the broad path the hell. Some may ask, where is the common ground? Quite simply, there is none. A principal of religion is either correct or false. There is no meeting half way, there is no conforming to popular vote. Truth is truth, and those who fail to accept it (not find it) will have eon after eon to consider the source of their downfall and the reason for their eternal imprisonment. At this time it is not my goal to teach truth, but to establish the need for it. Which, I suppose, in and of itself is in fact truth. Funny how that works.
Looking back on the past there are quite a few highlights in my existence. Few remain in my mind as vividly as the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean on the coast of Washington. I remember the overcast sky, the cool wind blowing in off the great deep, and the sand between my toes. I am by no means an oceanographer, but one thing I did notice was the reality of tides and waves. Let us for a moment consider that the tides represent the world's opinion, that the shore represents the percentage of true doctrines understood, and the waves are the revelation coming from Heavenly Father.
With the times, the tides will rise and fall due to the forces of gravity. (Let's substitute gravity in this case for the influence of Satan.) What once was abhorred eventually becomes esteemed. What once was a hidden appetite will burst forth and become the next rage. As a whole, humanity is so very willing to change, conform and contort. What we fail to realize is, while a loss of morality constitutes for a gain of popularity in this world, where does it leave us in the world to come? Why is it that a life based upon principal and faith draws the finger of scorn? Well, I can very well tell you that does not come from the influence of the Father. Most choose to conform for fear of standing alone. Most fake what they cannot make. For example, in the early stages the Catholic church (the ultimate source of all but a handful of churches) would hold councils and allow for learned men to decide points of doctrine. A show of this is December 25th. Who decided what day Christ was born? Show me the day in the scriptures and I will give you a cookie. Here is a lesson of the Jewish calendar at the time of Christ - there were 12 months, in order they are: Nisan, Iyar, Siwan, Tammuz, Ab, Elul, Tishri, Markhesewan, Kislew, Teboth, Shebot, and Adar. Each month consisted of 29-30 days. Fairly similar to our calendar right? In a civil aspect Tishri was the first month, from a religious stand point Nisan was the first month. Since we are considering spiritual matters, we shall assume the spiritual calendar as we move forward. Let us read Luke 1:26. It says that the conception of Christ took place in the sixth month. So add on 9 months and that takes us from Elul to Siwan, which on our modern calendar corresponds to April and May. My intent is not to discredit Christmas (in fact the day matters not, for we do not worship the day, but we worship Christ, so really shouldn't every day be Christmas?) but to show the whole cloth from which 95% of Christianity has been created from.
That, however, is just food for thought. Do we now see how many doctrines are not rooted in scripture or revelation? Many common beliefs today are the ideas of men, mingled with and supported by scripture when and where it fits.
Now, back to tides and waves. At different times, due to tides (opinions) the amount of shore (true doctrine) being displayed in common Christian belief sways. It changes, it is flexible. Would not the only safe place be on the dry ground? Would that not be the only place that the shore is not changing? So, the only safe place in Christianity is the one that presents 100% true doctrine. Makes sense right? But what of waves? How can they effect us? Waves can only "make" us wet if we are on the dry ground. So, we already have 100% true doctrine under our belt, how can waves effect us? Well, when I'm dry, 99% of the time I wish to stay that way. So, If a wave is coming, will I not back up out of its reach? The revelation sent forth from God can take us from good to better. While certain doctrines are necessary for gaining salvation, others are about wants and desires. So, If we are on solid ground, can not God make us just a bit better by sending some revelation our way?
I'm having to cut parts out because I just do not have time. Truth is eternal. Truth burns bright. Truth lines the way back to our Father in Heaven. Many claim it is fine to believe what you wish. Many claim that left or right, whichever you choose you will be fine. But the truth of the matter is that only truth will carry you safely to the end. False concepts lead to eternal damnation, while truth leads to eternal life.
It is the job of each and every one of us to find the truth and cling to it. If we fail to do that, we fail in our purpose in coming to earth. We are to carry the standard of Christ forth, not cling to the beliefs of our pastors. So maybe, just maybe, this year we can be a bit more self-sufficient in our pursuit of happiness. For it is what we know, not what our pastor teaches us, that will get us back to that God who gave us life.
Any-who, had to delete a lot of my thoughts just because of time. That's what I got. Sorry for the spots of inadequate explanation, the time really is a killer. Love y'all.