Friday, December 18, 2009

Letter from 12/9/09

Dear Mom & Dad,

Hello! How is everybody doing? Hopefully this finds you warmer than you were when you wrote the letter I just received! (dated 12/3/09)

So yesterday we had mission conference at the Kirtland Temple. WOW. I don't even know where to start! The Spirit of God like a fire really was burning! We sang the mission song (the variation of "Armies of Helaman", and then Karl Anderson (former Kirtland Stake President, Stake Patriarch, and Guru of all things Kirtland) and President Sorensen both spoke about
D&C 109 & 110 - the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple and Christ's manifestation there. They talked about all the promises made there and how they apply to missionaries. It was really cool. The Spirit was strong, but that wasn't the half of it. Then we broke up into zones and each zone met in one of the corners of the temple's lower room (where the meeting was conducted). As you may recall, the Kirtland Temple was designed so curtains could drop down and split up the room into separate classrooms. We basically did that, but without the curtains. As zones, we had testimony meetings for about an hour and everybody bore powerful testimony, which of course invited the Spirit even more. Finally, we all stood and, from the four quarters of the Kirtland Temple, where Jesus Christ the Savior has personally appeared in His Glory, and for whose dedication the song was originally written and sung, we sang and we shouted with the armies of heaven and made the exultant notes of "The Spirit of God" ring through the air and reverberate through our hearts and souls as if the very choirs of Heaven sang with us. And I know that they did, for the Spirit bore witness to me that, while I may not have been able to see then with my physical eyes, we were not alone in the temple that day. The Spirit was so strong that I don't know how the veil wasn't rent in twain. Definitely it was at least thinned.

After that, we left the temple and, with shining countenances and beaming faces, went to the Kirtland Stake Center for lunch and further instruction. President Sorensen has challenged us to read the book of Mormon in 90 days starting on the 1st, highlighting Christ's attributes and circling references to Him. Also, we got the letters they asked you to write - thank you. They were very inspirational to me and it helps build my testimony to hear about how you have been blessed since I've been away.

I want to thank you both again for being the most loving and supportive parents I could ever have asked for. I have definitely grown to appreciate you both more since I have arrived in Ohio. The funny thing is, it's not the delicious meals or free laundry or things like that that have made me so much more thankful, although I would have thought they would be. What really has given me a testimony of how blessed I have been is how tragically common it is for me to see broken homes and families here. So often, it seems, one or both parents are missing from children's lives. Even if they are not, it is even more common to see parent figures that are terrible examples to their children. Thank you for being good examples for me and always being there for me. I can truly say that I, like Nephi of old, have "been born to goodly parents" who love the Lord. Again, thank you for showing forth your love for each other, me, Delaney, Cody, Peyton, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that it could be clearly seen in our home, and for teaching us and sharing with us your testimonies of Jesus Christ and his gospel, so that we can now say, like the Sons of Helaman, "we do not doubt that our mother (and father) knew it".

Bed time - going to bed
Next day - lunch time 12/10/09

Wow. I just read the letter over again - I kind of waxed eloquent there, didn't I?

Anyways, I just wanted to share with you my testimony that I know God is our Heavenly Father and that He knows and loves every one of us. I know that Jesus Christ is His only begotten son in the flesh, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and of each one of us personally. I know the through Jesus Christ's atonement and gospel we can be cleansed of our sins by repenting and having faith in Him. I know that the Book of Mormon - another Testament of Jesus Christ is truly the word of God, written by inspired prophets and preserved by the matchless power of the Lord to come forth in this last dispensation, and that anyone who truly searches it and prays with faith and real intent will come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God as a prophet to restore His church and the original truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which had been lost and changed over the years. I know that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses individuals and families abundantly - that is something I have come to know much more surely since I've been here. I know the church is true and I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God to lead and guide the church. In the Savior's love I trust and in His name I testify, even Jesus Christ, amen.

(I couldn't decide if you are supposed to write "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" after writing your testimony - never thought of that before).

Well, see you later. Time to go tract in the snow!

Elder Smith