|President and Sister Mortensen|
Amazing Insights from President:
We make covenants because it binds us to God and increases our influence over Satan. When we're bound to God we become closer to Him and more like Him. I loved this quote he shared:
"God binds to free, Satan frees to bind."
Think about that for a minute.
President then talked about the covenants we make. There's the obvious ones that come to mind, Baptism, Endowment, Marriage... some less obvious ones, Sabbath Day (Exodus 31:16-17, D&C 59: 9-10), Priesthood (D&C 84:39).
But he wanted to focus on something that I doubt anyone has really considered a covenant: The Book of Mormon. D&C 84:54-57 says "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this is condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—"
What was it Joseph Smith said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book."
The problem is, sometimes we treat it like any other book. We need to be reading it every day, and those who want to gain a testimony of it ought to be doing the same. Do you think a verse is enough? A page? You tell me what a meaningful amount is for you, and then do it.
I was blown away by this new way of looking at the Book of Mormon and the emphasis we should be giving it. I would challenge all of you to look at the priority you give to the Book of Mormon in your life. If you're not making time to read it every day you should consider making it a higher priority. I'm running out of time, so I might share insight #2 next week. Somebody remind me.
So Taylor is just great. Teaching her makes me happy, and it's been wonderful to see her faith and testimony continue to grow and see the way the gospel is influencing her life for the better. She sent us this text a few days ago that just about made me cry.
"Thank you so much for teaching me at the temple today. It felt so magical. I could feel the strong spiritual presence and was so happy. I'm reading Mosiah right now, such a great way to wind down and relax for the evening and then pick up where you left off in the morning. You don't know how thankful I am for both of you in my life. You guys are truly angels sent by God to help me get on the right path like you showed me in our second lesson. I love you guys so much!! Which is a miracle because I used to think I'd never know what love is or be able to feel it for others because of my autism, but the Holy Ghost has truly blessed me and will even more on the 26th!"
Anyways .. she is golden!! Such a special daughter of God. We're all so excited for her baptism and it's been such a blessing to see how her life is changing. It's changing mine to watch it!!
We've also been meeting with Charlie, he's as amazing as ever. We had a lesson on Wednesday and he came in feeling a little shaky about his baptismal date in a few weeks. After talking and clarifying a few principles our ward mission leader who was there with us, testified of the Book of Mormon and praying to know. We ended the lesson and I looked right at Charlie and said, "Charlie, do you want to pray and ask?" He nodded. "Sure." He began his prayer and was so sincere. Sister Nielsen and I were praying so hard in our hearts that God would answer him. After expressing gratitude for all he's learned, he asked God to give him a feeling to let him know if it was right and then went completely silent for a couple minutes. He said, "I'm speechless" and then ended the prayer. The Spirit had flooded the room and we all felt it. It was incredible to watch his sincere prayer of faith answered so quickly. We've assigned him various chapters from the Book of Mormon to read. He came to our last lesson having read it 3 times to really understand it better, along with President Monson's last conference talk. He ponders what we teach him and asks amazing questions. I am so excited for Charlie and all he's learning and what the Lord has in store for him.
We also met Debbie this week. Our mission president was grabbing a quick lunch with his family and talked to her at smash-burger. She asked him if he was a minister.. and he said yes. I am... have you ever been to one of our churches before? No? You would love it! So we get this referral from President, tried texting her. No response. So we might as well drop by, Right? We did and she was home! We got to know her, taught her about the Restoration and God's love for us and invited her to church. We found her a ride and she came!!! :D So there we are Sunday morning sitting in the chaple talking to an investigator and a less active that had come and in walks President Mortensen! "I heard Debbie was coming to church today and I'm here to report back to my incredulous family that miracles do happen. In walks Debbie a few minutes later. It was so amazing to see her come after just meeting her yesterday, and I learned from President's example of love and caring for individuals in taking time out of his hectic schedule to come see one person.
We also got to give a tour of the temple grounds to a group of bridesmaids, most of which were non-members as they waited for 2 members or our ward to get sealed. It was a neat opportunity to talk about the importance of temples and families as a wedding was going on.
Anyways, I have more to say, but no time to do it. Love you all lots! Read the Book of Mormon!!