President's Pen 10-9-17 (Decisions, Answers, Immunized)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! “We begin with the End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!

Dear Elders & Sisters,

I love ya!  We begin a new transfer this week and it again gives us an opportunity to recommit to our purpose and consecrate our efforts.  I love that our purpose is so clear and that we always know what to do.  Increase your commitment to find those the Lord has prepared by opening your mouth all day, every day.  Treasure up the words of life and then teach repentance with power and authority.  Help people know why they must be born again and show them the path to a remission of sins.  You are the only authorized representatives on the planet that can do this for the sons and daughters of God in your area.  Thanks for giving your best to the Lord every day!

The talks given regarding the Book of Mormon at the recent general conference were inspiring.  In particular, I loved the promised blessings Elder Nelson pronounced, “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.” Better decisions, the heavens opened and answers to questions, and immunized against evil; is there any reason we shouldn’t dive into the Book of Mormon every day and passionately invite others to do the same?

In my study this week I was looking for what President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “The Book of Mormon . . . was written for our day. . . . It was meant for us.  We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record?  What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”  With that question in mind, I was studying the war chapters in Alma, and true to President Benson’s words, I found treasures that I can use to be immunized against evil. 

In Alma chapter 50, we learn about all the preparations of war Captain Moroni was making to defend his people against the Lamanites.  Note how many things Moroni does to protect his people…  “digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities…, upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man…, round about the cities, upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built… and they were strong and high…, he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers.” (Alma 50:1-4)  Earth, timbers, pickets, towers, and places of security.  As the chapter continues, it mentions other strategies Moroni uses to help his people stay safe and protected.   I invite you to read it and look for all Moroni does to protect his people…

While these verses layout important war strategies to defend and protect, how can you apply these scriptures to our day?   Imagine that the Lamanites are Satan and his hosts, always coming to tempt, trap, and cause destruction in your life.  Like Captain Moroni, you recognize that preparations to battle Satan are necessary and important for you to stay firm and true.  You, in like manner, put up every defense you can think of to protect yourself against the adversary’s advances; mighty prayer, fasting, feasting in the Book of Mormon, worshipful temple attendance, and purposeful sacrament meeting preparation and attendance.  You surround yourself, just as Moroni did with his cities, with every strategy to provide protection and peace.  The outcome… for the Nephites, “Thus Moroni, with his armies, which did increase daily because of the assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them.”  Could it also be said, that because of your preparations, that you’ll have the increased assurance of being able to overcome Satan and his attacks against you?

How could you apply these passages of scripture to help an investigator overcome addiction or problems that easily beset them?  What could you apply if you’re battling a temptation, negative thoughts towards yourself, striving to fortify your faith, putting your plan together to find, reviewing approaches to work with members, or putting in your plan to help an investigator progress?  Would you also be willing, like Moroni, to go to whatever lengths required to defend against Satan and come off as conquerors? Can you see why President Nelson would promise that you’ll make better decisions, receive answers to questions, and be immunized against evil from just a few verses of scripture?  Can you also see why you should read the Book of Mormon every day, every day, every day and never miss a day the rest of your life?

What if every time you open the Book of Mormon, you could find these kinds of treasures that will bless your day, your investigators, and your life?  I testify that they are there for you to find, if you begin your study with prayer, you seek the Spirit to guide you, you consider what questions or needs you have, and you treasure up what you learn.  If you will do this, the Book of Mormon will not simply be accounts you’ve read before, but a personal handbook of instruction to guide and direct your life. 

Elders & Sisters, as President Nelson has taught, the Book of Mormon is a “Miraculous Miracle”.  I invite you to make it part of your every day study and ponder the question, “What lesson can I learn from that (verse or passage of scripture) to help me live in this day and age?”.  Apply what you learn and ask how you can help an investigator progress towards making and keeping sacred ordinances.  Let the Book of Mormon speak for itself, help investigators see and learn how it can answer the questions of their soul, and testify of its divinity and as another witness of Jesus Christ.  Study from its pages and fearlessly use this amazing tool of the Lord’s harvest to bless others as you teach.

I invite you to reap all the blessings President Monson promised last April as we study each day, “…we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.”  Let’s listen to the voice of prophets and follow their counsel, to not do so is foolishness.  I witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and more valuable than diamonds or rubies.  I know it blesses my life and it is the keystone of my testimony of God’s kingdom on the earth, of His chosen prophet of the Restoration, and that Jesus is the Christ.  Love ya!

President Hall