Elder Nettles and I posing for a photo.
March 5, 2019
This week was a good week. Our zone worked really hard to find a ton of new investigators this week. That was awesome, tons of miracles. We were also challenged to start inviting one person to baptism a day, that is something I haven’t ever done before on my mission so that was challenging but rewarding to try. I feel like I’m getting pushed to be even better, things are great.
We met a lot of people this week that are super zealous for Christ in their own religions. Jesus Christ is the most important figure in all Christianity (I mean, its named after Him). What he did while he was on the earth is the most important things in Christian Religion, (and has major historical significance in secular history as well). Learning about who He is and what He did on earth is one of the most important things we can learn about. So here is a short summary of what He did, and what we believe:
Jesus came to the earth as the Messiah (or Christ) as prophesied by many prophets, such as Isaiah, Moses, David, and many others. A wonderful scripture that I love in the Book of Mormon says:
Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. (3 Nephi 1:13)
The coming of Christ is one of the greatest examples of God always keeping his promises. Jesus was given the most important mission. He was sent to atone for the sins of the world, and to ransom the entire human family from death. This was possible for Him, and Him alone, because he is the Only Begotten son of God. In LDS scriptures we learn that Christ will save us from sin on the condition that we accept and live His Gospel (Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End).
To make sure that people could have the chance to hear and accept this message he spent much of his time on Earth establishing a church. He called 12 men and called them to be Apostles (see Matt. 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16). The Apostles were to be special witnesses of Christ and His Atonement. Jesus gave the Apostles the priesthood so in addition to their special calling there were entitled to receive revelation like the prophets of old; this even after Christ’s death, resurrection, and Ascension the church of Jesus Christ was guided by Christ and not man.
Christ also set the perfect example for us and taught us what we needed to do on to return to live with God. He lived a perfect life, never sinning. Despite being perfect he was baptized, which as Nephi said, shows us how much more we need to be baptized. (See 2 Nephi 31:5)
He taught His Gospel with power and authority. He was a master teacher, able to teach according to the needs of those around His. Nobody could confound Him. His teachings have laid the foundations of many people’s lives and formed the values of many cultures and nations.
And He performed miracles while on earth, such as healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and dead to hear, walking on water, calming the sea, and raising the dead. These miracles were performed the prove the He is the Christ, and that he can forgive our sin (See Mark 2:9). Yet despite all these things he was rejected by his own, betrayed and Crucified. Later his Apostles and His church was rejected by many and persecuted severally. But that another topic for another day.
Because Mormons believe slightly different doctrine regarding Jesus Christ, many accuse Mormons of not being Christians. Yet despite these accusations, Jesus Christ and who he is are at the very center of our church, and of who we are. As Joseph Smith said:
The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. (Teaching of the Presidents: Joseph Smith, pg. 49)
I add my testimony of Jesus Christ to those already given, I know He is the promised Messiah and that He lives today, and leads His church in our day just like He did in days of old. I know that the testimony of the scriptures and prophets regarding Him are true. These things I have learned by living His Gospel and receiving the mighty blessing He promised.
These things I share in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Most of my Zone at Chick-Fil-A
March 19, 2018
This week was an awesome week, in the area in and in my personal life. I have begun my last 12 weeks so training feels like a countdown to my return home. But Elder Nettles is such an awesome missionary who is doing really well, he has grown so much in the short time I’ve been with him; one of the best companions I’ve ever had. We have had some awesomely high goals that we have set this week, and due to faith and diligence we have hit them. We are seeing miracles every day.
I’ve been studying a lot about the Gospel and a lot about Jesus Christ, and I’m seeing big changes that have come into my life as I’ve done that. I have found that the gospel has the biggest impact when applied on a daily basis. My testimony of Christ had become very large and I have had many opportunities to share it.
One thing I have encountered is many people here in Utah have questions on if Joseph Smith is a prophet or not. We have had many opportunities this week to testify of the reality of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Last days, which has greatly strengthened my own testimony of this great truth. I have learned from my own experiences that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but every single person must learn for themselves from God that he really is. There is no hardcore proof either way that proves or disproves him. We must learn as Jesus said: “by their fruits ye shall know them.” (fruits meaning the results of what they did). For me the Gospel restored by Jospeh Smith has brought me the most personal satisfaction and peace in my life.
Here is what happened in Jospeh’s life according to his accounts. As a young boy he had questions about what church he should join, and he really didn’t want to make the wrong choice. Many of the preachers of that time taught about how serious choosing a religion will be in eternity. Joseph wanted to make sure he was joining the right church and not a false one. So, he searched. His search led him to the Bible, he learned a lot but was unable, as young as he was to know what doctrine was correct as so many people interpreted the same passages different ways. He felt lost.
But he kept reading and he found a scripture in the Book of James, 1st chapter 5th verse which reads:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)
This scripture made an impression on him and he decided that he would ask God. He went out into a grove of trees near his home and knelt down and prayed to God. Then his world Changed!
He had a vision. And this is what he said about it:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of Them spake unto me, calling me by name and said pointing to the Other – This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS-H 1:16)
This is the great moment of the Restoration, where God once again spoke to man. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, they answered his question and told him that none of the churches currently on the earth were true, and that the fullness of the Gospel will, at a later day, he made known unto him. In time, God fulfilled his promise and called Joseph Smith to be prophet, and the Gospel was restored unto him. As part of that restoration God sent angels, John the Baptist and Peter, James and John to restore the priesthood to Joseph Smith.
Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ reestablished His church, complete “prophets, apostles” (Ephesians 4:11) and so forth. God has continually called prophets since Joseph’s time with the current prophet being Russel M. Nelson. God also taught us that we live in the last days, the time before Jesus Christ will come again, this is why the church is named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the message of the Restoration.
Regards from Elder Brown.
Me after a rainy day