elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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I hope you’ve had a good week!

Hey guys!

This week was very good for us, or at least I feel very good about this week. We were pretty busy. On Wednesday we were wearing normal service clothes the entire day because we had so much service to do! We helped M. (member) renovate his house, which was basically moving a bunch of furniture. To be more specific, M is on vacation and we helped his Mormon contractor. 🙂 Then we helped an investigator named F move a couch into his house. After, we helped U in her garden. The we finished off the day watering O and A’s plants, because they are on vacation. I really enjoy days like that every once and a while.

Thursday we have mission tour, which is basically the same as Zone Conference, except a General Authority comes. So Paul V. Johnson came. He was the Commissioner of the Church Educational System, and now he’s in the Europe area presidency. It was really good. I wouldn’t say I learned anything new, per se, but I came away from it feeling refreshed and ready work, and I think that’s pretty great.

We had a couple cool experiences this last week.

First, we met with Frau F, who is 87 YEARS OLD. She is so awesome. Just the sweetest old lady. We committed her to read in the Book of Mormon last week, and she didn’t. She was really apologetic and felt really bad, but we told her having eye surgery was a good enough excuse. 🙂 There was one point during the lesson where she basically started teaching me, and I started to wonder if she was an angel or something. She lamented the fact that not many people here ever THINK. They never ask themselves deep questions, like is there a God, or why am I here, or what to I want to do with my life, or what makes me happy, or what’s important to me. They just skate through life, getting money for food and basically just continuing to exist. Then she looked me right in the eye and said,

“We need young people out there who are making people think. Even if you change one person’s life, you’ re changed the world. But you are needed.”

Wow. That was pretty awesome. She said the prayer at the end.

We met with Herr Y again. He was having a really hard time healthwise, and we both felt inspired to give him a priesthood blessing. That was kind of difficult, because you know, pouring some oil on someone’s head and then putting your hands on their head and saying words like anoint, consecrated, and Melchizedek. . . It can be confusing for an old guy. But we did it. After, we asked him what he thought, and he didn’t really say much and continued on as if nothing happened. I was worried he didn’t understand, which was a huge bummer. I wondered if we were wasting time here. But then we asked what he felt, and he opened up. He said he felt really good and peaceful. And not only that, but it made him start thinking about important religious things he hasn’t thought about for a long long time. He says he sometimes just sits and thinks about that stuff now, ever since we’ve started visiting. That’s so great!

On Sunday, we brought a Jehovah’s Witness named A to church. The day we found him, we actually talked to another Jehovah’s Witness couple. He was very nice. They were not so much. With the couple we never Bible bashed, but I was ready with a few questions after they asked us the classic “Do you allow military service?” And “Do you allow blood transfusions?” questions. So I asked them what they believe happens to those who don’t get a chance to be baptized here. It was good. It helped me see a couple of things I was taking for granted that I want to find scriptural support for.

I’d never asked myself why Adam and Eve couldn’t have children in the Garden of Eden. I know they couldn’t according to the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, but as of right now I can’t think of a reason why not. Any ideas?

Anyway. I would call that experience a draw 🙂

The next guy was much nicer. He’d had some bad experiences with a few Witness policies, so when we were a little more accepting, he was willing to listen. But he is hard core. He’s of course also been a missionary, and went to jail for 8 months to avoid military service and stuff. But he said he would come to church. He did, and he enjoyed it. Just from talking to him on the train and stuff, I really like him. He is so much more polite than any other Witness I’ve ever met. Maybe it’s our name tags, but they are pretty … Scoffy… sometimes. He’s open to listen to our message, but he’ll be a toughie. Good thing I’m reading “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” right now, which is a super cool book. I’ve already learned a lot.

We said goodbye to Junior on Sunday. He’s headed back to Brazil. Darn him. He’s so awesome, but that boy needs a trial.

Last of all we met with M and A on Saturday (FINALLY). They have a wood burning stove for the winter, so we helped him carry wood. Then we had a good talk about scripture reading, and how they can help us calm down. M gets really stressed at work. That was a good appointment, and we promised to text them a scripture everyday to read right when they get home from work. They were actually pretty excited about that. Then we also went by yesterday. We shared our scripture for that day with them – Mormon 9:21.

Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

Then we talked about prayer. We taught them how to pray and then invited them to try it. M was really shy about it and nervous, but A was excited to try, so she did. She said an awesome prayer! M didn’t end up praying, but he said he would on his own. It was a very good lesson. As M was driving us home, he told us how he really really liked the missionaries and our church, and to him, it seems like the most honest religion. He said the reason he’s interested in this whole thing is because every missionary he’s met has been a wonderful person. That was really cool! They said they are coming to church on Sunday because I’m giving a talk. 🙂

All in all, this week has been really fun.

I hope this week goes well for you guys!

That’s awesome about the new car!

Love,
Elder Greaves


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The Plan of Salvation from the scriptures

Whoops forgot to send this. It’s not done yet… I need to add s few things to the celestial kingdom stuff. But it’s pretty close. And reeeeaaalllyyy long. Sorry about that.

Thanks to www.scripturecompanion.com for the illustration.

Thanks to http://www.scripturecompanion.com for the illustration.

The Plan of Salvation

Premortal Existence

– Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

– Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God is our literal Father …

– Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

– Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

– Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

… So we had/have the potential to become like Him.

– 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

– 2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

There were differences between us.
We were just spirits.

– Ether 3: 15-16 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

– D&C 88:15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.

We needed to gain a body, because God has one, and we want to be like Him.

– Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

– Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

– Hebrews 2:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

And we needed to learn and grow on our own.

– 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

He gave us agency.

– 2 Nephi 10:23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves–to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.

A plan was presented, because God wants to help us become like Him.

– Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

– Moses 1:1-4 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying–Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me–Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

We chose God’s plan, and Christ created the world.

– Mosiah 3:8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

– Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Adam and Eve at an altar in the Garden of Eden.  www.lds.org

Adam and Eve at an altar in the Garden of Eden. http://www.lds.org

Creation and Fall
Adam and Eve were the first humans. They had 2 commandments in the garden of Eden.
First commandment

– Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Second commandment

– Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

These 2 commandments were conflicting.

– 2 Nephi 2:22-23 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

It was actually God’s plan to have Adam and Eve eat the fruit.
Eating the fruit was not a sin, I was a transgression. Not a moral sin, but breaking the law, which brings specific consequences.

– Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
(I.E. God said to Adam and Eve, you may eat of any tree, but if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, there will be consequences.)

– 2 Nephi 2:11-12, 24 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

The Fall brought with it positives and negatives.
Positives: the human family; the ability to understand joy by experiencing pain.

– 2 Nephi 2:25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

Positives: the ability to know good from evil.

– 2 Nephi 2:5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.

Negatives: Temporal and spiritual death.

– 2 Nephi 2:5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

– 2 Nephi 9:10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.

These are why we need a Savior.

– 2 Nephi 9:12-13 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.

The Fall and the Atonement together make us free.

– 2 Nephi 2:26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because they are redeemed from the Fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

Mortality

– Alma 34:32-33 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

We are all born and made to forget this past.

– 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

We experience trials and problems, and it’s all for our good.

– 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

– Hebrews 5:7-9 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

– D&C 122:7-8 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

We couldn’t make it back on our own.

– Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Christ makes it possible.

– Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

– Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But we still have to work.

– James 2:17-19, 22 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

– 2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

(e.g. You are trying to wake-board across Mortality lake to get to Heavenly beach. With only works, you ignore the most perfect motorboat in the world, Jesus Christ, and you try to paddle across the infinitely wide lake yourself. You’ll never make it without faith. When you try to exclusively use faith, it’s like refusing to grab the rope or try to stand up. You just wait, hoping the boat will create big enough waves to push you there. You’ll still never get there. Using both is like firmly holding onto the rope and trying with all your might to stand up, there’s no way you will do it perfectly the first time, nor will you be able to make it across the whole lake without falling, but if you are willing to try again, Christ will circle around back to you and give you the rope again, and again, and as many times as you need it. It is only through His power that you will ever make it, but it also only because you are doing your best that He can help you.)

Christ showed us what we need to do.

– 2 Nephi 25:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

We obey commandments, which are for our good.

– D&C 130:20-21 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated–
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

We covenant with God.

– Mosiah 5:5, 7 And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

These covenants are:

– Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Faith; repentance; baptism by immersion; gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; enduring to the end – Those are the first steps.
Faith and repentance prepare us to make our first covenant – baptism.

– 2 Nephi 9:23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.

Baptism, the very first covenant (coupled with receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying in of hands) is often misunderstood.

– 2 Nephi 31:17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

– Romans 6:3-11 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

– 3 Nephi 11:21-26 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them–Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

After we are baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we are guided by the Holy Ghost to make the right decisions and more covenants – “enduring to end”.

– 2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

We must receive all ordinances and covenants, and in the right order.

– Acts 19:2-6 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

These ordinances and covenants are necessary for salvation.

– John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Freiberg Germany Temple, www.lds.org

Freiberg Germany Temple, http://www.lds.org

Then come temple ordinances.
Endowment

– D&C 93:8 Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high;

Celestial Marriage

– D&C 132:15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.

An overview of each ordinance, with Explanations of what authority is needed, covenants that are made, and blessings promised.
(See chart in Eternal Marriage Student Manual, “Covenants and Ordinances”.)

Baptism
Authority

A priest in the Aaronic Priesthood (or any Melchizedek Priesthood holder) may perform the ordinance upon approval of the local priesthood leader. He offers the scripturally prescribed baptismal prayer and then completely immerses the baptism recipient in the water.

Covenants We Make with God
We covenant to:
•Come into the fold of God.
•Take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ.
•Stand as a witness for Jesus Christ.
•Always keep the commandments.
•Bear one another’s burdens.
•Manifest a determination to serve God unto the end.
•Manifest by works that we have repented of our sins.
•Prepare to receive the Holy Ghost for the complete remission of sins.
– See 2 Nephi 31:17–21; Mosiah 18:8–10; D&C 20:37; Articles of Faith 1:4.
Blessings Promised
1. We qualify for membership in Christ’s Church.
2. If we are worthy, the Lord promises to:
•Pour out His Spirit upon us.
•Redeem us from our sins.
•Raise us up in the First Resurrection.
•Give us eternal life.

Gift of the Holy Ghost

Authority
A Melchizedek Priesthood holder, authorized by the local priesthood leader, may confer the gift of the Holy Ghost by prayer and the laying on of hands.

Covenants We Make with God

In order to qualify for the gift of the Holy Ghost we must fulfill the covenants of baptism, continue in humility and faith, and otherwise be worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost (see Articles of Faith 1:4).

Blessings Promised

1. We are confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2. We receive the right or privilege to enjoy the continual companionship of the Holy Ghost. We can receive inspiration, divine manifestations, spiritual gifts, and direction from the Holy Ghost continually. We also receive blessings by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost bears witness of Jesus Christ and of divine truths, provides spiritual guidance and warnings, and enables us to discern right and wrong.
3. We are sanctified or cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost and are born of God as we continue faithfully. Through this baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, individual hearts and desires are cleansed and spirits are made pure. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is the culmination of the process of repentance and baptism (see 2 Nephi 31:13, 17; 3 Nephi 27:20).
4. We know the gift of the Holy Ghost is the key to all of the spiritual gifts found in the Church, including the gifts of prophecy and revelation, healing, speaking in tongues, and translating and interpreting tongues.

Sacramental bread and water, www.lds.org

Sacramental bread and water, http://www.lds.org

Sacrament
Authority

A priest in the Aaronic Priesthood (or any Melchizedek Priesthood holder) may administer the sacrament upon approval of the local priesthood leader. Sacramental prayers are revealed in the scriptures.

Covenants We Make with God

We covenant to:
•Renew our baptismal covenants.
•Recommit to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. Partaking of the sacrament is a time for personal introspection, repentance, and rededication.
See 3 Nephi 18:28–29; Moroni 4–5; D&C 20:75–79; 27:2; 46:4.

Blessings Promised

1. The Lord forgives sins we repent of.
2. The Lord promises that we may always have His Spirit to be with us.

Receive the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood

Authority

A Melchizedek Priesthood holder with the authority to do so may ordain worthy male members to the Melchizedek Priesthood by prayer and the laying on of hands.

Covenants We Make with God

Priesthood holders covenant to:
•Receive in good faith and with honest intent both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods (see D&C 84:33).
•Magnify callings by fulfilling all responsibilities associated with the priesthood offices they are called to.
•Teach the word of God and labor with all their might to advance the Lord’s purposes (see Jacob 1:19).
•Obtain a knowledge of the gospel (see D&C 107:31).
•Give service by comforting and strengthening the Saints of God (see Mosiah 18:8–9). •Be obedient and “give diligent heed to the words of eternal life” (D&C 84:43).
•Listen to and follow revelation from the Lord. “Live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God” (v. 44).
See also Elder Carlos E. Asay, in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 56–58; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 43–44.

Blessings Promised

Worthy priesthood holders receive these promises:
1. Be “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies” (D&C 84:33).
2. “Become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham” (v. 34).
3. Become members of “the church and kingdom, and the elect of God” (v. 34).
4. Receive the Father’s kingdom and “all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (v. 38). 5. Receive of the Father’s fulness and glory and become “gods, even the sons of God” (D&C 76:58).
6. Are warned that anyone who rejects this covenant and “altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come” (D&C 84:41). — President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency made the following comment about D&C 84:41: “I don’t think he is talking here necessarily about the unpardonable sin, but I am saying that those of us who receive this priesthood and understand what it is about and fail to magnify our callings will lose something we cannot recover hereafter” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 116; or Ensign, May 1974, 80).

Temple Endowment
Authority
The temple endowment is a gift of spiritual power and blessing from above. It consists of a course of instruction, receiving saving ordinances, and making covenants administered by authorized officiators only in dedicated temples (see D&C 95:8; 97:14; 109:13–15).

Covenants We Make with God

The temple endowment is seen as the continuation and culmination of the covenants made at baptism. Temple covenants include “tests by which our willingness and fitness for righteousness may be known” (John A. Widtsoe, Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 178).

We covenant to:

Blessings Promised

“Observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,–the Lord Jesus Christ” (James E. Talmage, House of the Lord, 84).

1. “With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions” (Talmage, House of the Lord, 84).
2. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the endowment was designed to give us “a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 324), “to prepare the disciples for their missions unto the world” (p. 274), to prevent us from being “overcome by these evils” (p. 259), and to enable us “to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn” (p. 237).
3. President Gordon B. Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer of the Vernal Utah Temple said, “We pray that Thou wilt visit it, and may Thy Holy Spirit dwell here to sanctify it and make it holy unto all who enter its portals” (“We Thank Thee for This Sacred Structure,” Church News, 8 Nov. 1997, 4). Through the temple endowment, we may seek “a fulness of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 109:15). Temple ordinances are seen as a means for receiving inspiration and instruction through the Holy Spirit and for preparing to return to God’s presence.

Celestial Marriage
Authority

A temple officiator who has the sealing power of the priesthood invokes covenants intended to be efficacious for time and for all eternity. Celestial marriage involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple (see D&C 131:1–3; 132:18–19).

Covenants We Make with God

Couples who promise to abide the law of celestial marriage:
•Covenant in pure love to remain faithful to each other and to God through all eternity.
•Covenant to confine their intimate affections and sexual relations to each other.
•Commit to live in ways that contribute to happy and successful family life.
•Covenant “to ‘be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’ (Gen. 1:28). A primary purpose of temple marriage in this life is to grow and mature in sharing God’s creative work in raising a family in righteousness. Parents enter into a partnership with God by participating in the procreation of mortal bodies, which house the spirit children of God” (in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:859).

Blessings Promised

1. Husbands and wives will receive eternal life in the world to come, the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 88:4; Moses 6:59).
2. They shall become gods with all power and “shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” (D&C 132:19).
3. They shall obtain exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial glory (see D&C 131:1–4).
4. They will come to know God the Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 132:48–50).

We die.

– Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Spirit World

– Alma 40:6-7, 11-13 Now there must needs be a space betwixt the time of death and the time of the resurrection.
7 And now I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection?
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil–for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house–and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

The Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, www.lds.org

The Tomb of Christ, http://www.lds.org

Where was Christ for the 3 days following his death, if he didn’t go to his Father?

– John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

He went and taught the unresurrected dead in the Spirit world.

– 1 Peter 3:18-21 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

– 1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

– D&C 138:16, 18-19, 27, 30-35 They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.
18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.
27 But his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection;
30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.

Not only taught, but also given the chance to accept baptism and all other covenants.

– 1 Corinthians 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

– D&C 124:29-31 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead–
30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.

There will be some who will reject the message, because it is no easier here than it is there. Then, they must suffer in Hell for their own sins, until the Resurrection of the unjust.

– Alma 34:34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

– D&C 19:16-19 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink–
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

– D&C 76:106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

…so in the spirit world every person who has ever lived will have a chance to accept all the covenants necessary. It is a place of learning and growing and accepting covenants.

– Acts 10:34-35 ÂśThen Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

The Second Coming and the Millennium

Eventually, Jesus Christ will come again.

– D&C 29:11 For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.

This will bring 1000 years of peace on Earth with Christ as leader.

– D&C 43:29-31 For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth.
30 For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come.
31 For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.

Ordinances for the dead will be done by proxy in the temple during the Millennium.

Resurrection and Judgment

Then, everyone will be resurrected.

– 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

– 2 Nephi 9:14-15 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.
15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.

– Plillippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

There is an order to the Resurrection.

– John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Resurrection of life, or the resurrection of the just – before the Millennium.

sunset-beach-885797-gallery

The morning of the First Resurrection – Celestial Glory.

– D&C 88:96-98 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven–
98 They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

– D&C 76:70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

The afternoon of the First Resurrection – Terrestrial Glory.

– D&C 88:99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

Resurrection of damnation, or the resurrection of the unjust – after the Millennium.

The morning of the Second Resurrection – Telestial Glory.

– D&C 88:100-101 And again, another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation;
101 And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.

The afternoon of the Second Resurrection – No glory.

– D&C 88:102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.

All are resurrected to certain level of glory, of which there are:

Degrees of final glory

Those who receive no glory – the sons of perdition.

– D&C 88:32-35 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;
34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come–
35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

One cannot “accidentally” commit the unpardonable sin and thereby become a son of perdition.

– The Prophet Joseph Smith asked, concerning those who become sons of perdition, “What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Teachings, p. 358.)

– Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “The sin against the Holy Ghost requires such knowledge that it is manifestly impossible for the rank and file to commit such a sin” (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 123).

Three kingdoms

– 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

– 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Telestial Kingdom – lowest glory

– D&C 76:89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;

– D&C 76:98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

Attributes

– D&C 76:82-85, 100-101, 103-106These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.
83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.
84 These are they who are thrust down to hell.
85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.
100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another–some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;
101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.
103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.
104 These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.
105 These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

– D&C 76:109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;

(I.E., all people who rejected Jesus on Earth (if given the chance) and in the Spirit World, and chose to suffer for their own sins in Hell rather than use the Atonement.)

Terrestrial Kingdom – median glory

– D&C 76:98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

– D&C 76:91 And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial which excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion.

Attributes

– D&C 76:73-76, 79 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.
75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.
76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.
79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.

(I.E., those who rejected the Gospel here but received it in the Spirit world, or those that received it but weren’t valiant in living it.)

Celestial Kingdom – highest glory

– D&C 76:96 And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.

– D&C 76:92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things–where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;

– Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Attributes

– D&C 77:51-53, 55-56, 58-59, 60, 62, 69 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given–
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise (see footnote), which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

– Footnote:

D&C 132:7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. (I.E. When a covenant or ordinance is performed with the Priesthood authority, it is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which promises not only that it will last forever, even after this life, but that if we keep those covenants, we will have eternal life.)

– D&C 132:20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.


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Hey guys! This week has been decent.

We got to meet with some cool people, and as always, we have improved our teaching skills.

Here’s my letter to President straight from Google translate. I thought that would be kind of interesting to see what happened.  🙂

Hello President!

This week was nice. We have seen success, where we had good lessons.

We met with Mr. Y. He is an elderly man, with . . . typical German exterior, but a very loving heart. He wanted to come to church this week, but he got a sudden visit. Hopefully, he comes next week!

We see a little progress here in Frankfurt Oder. We have built up very good relationships with the members and I know this will not only help us, but also the missionaries who follow us.

Frankly, I do not have much to say today, except that I’m happy but never satisfied. I have heard a quote that I liked. “The mission is so that you could never have a perfect day.” It is simply impossible, where our mission is to serve as representative of Jesus Christ. We may not be as good as Jesus could be, but we can be better than if we were all alone.

I love my mission.

Our community is veeeery small (9-10 people) and has no young people. But this week we had a member visitors. Therefore Elder Allen and I made a youth class.

Can I just say that I want to teach young people NEVERRR again! It was not terrible, but definitely difficult. We finished with our testimonies, (shared my conversion story) and it was all in all quite good.

Kind regards!

Elder Greaves

Some cool extra highlights: I don’t know if I’ve said much about U, but he’s this really cool guy who used to meet with missionaries. They pushed him pretty hard, which I generally advocate, but he was sick and he actually got sicker from stress meeting with missionaries, so that’s not good.  Elder Allen and I are basically meant to be friends with him, since he is a WORLD TRAVELER, which is essentially all I want out of life.

Besides a family.

And he also is in to Indy movies, which Elder Allen could talk about for hours.

We are working hard to just be really good friends with him. He knows we are there to talk about the gospel, and he wants to talk about it too. We just meet him where he’s at.

He invited us to go pick blackberries with him in the woods! The at was super super cool. Then, we had about 3.5 billion tons of blackberries. Later, we shared a spiritual thought: 2 Nephi 2:25, since it fit our Gospel discussion that day. He really liked it and asked us to write it down so he could read again later. I’m getting a stronger testimony that the best way to help investigators is love them, and treat them as individuals.

This week I have very little time, but a few things real quick: about Cupcake: definitely sell her. She was gorgeous, but not very practical. I have sights set on greater things, like an adventure mobile! See attached picture.

IMG_0265

[As for a car after my mission] I have the goal of just completely making it on my own money wise, as ridiculous as that sounds, considering I have literally no money. 🙂 It would definitely be an adventure, but I have a few ideas of how I can make it work. Anyway. I’ not thinking about that much yet.

As far as that referral goes that you gave me. Referrals go through the mission office, so I could call them If you’d like, but it would be even better if the mom just wrote the office herself, since she has all the background info. Also, you can send one in online using Mormon.org. If you’d rather have me call, I can definitely do that. Just let me know.

I love you guys! Have an awesome week!


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I’m happy. I like being where I am. But…

Hey guys!

Really quick: did Cupcake [beloved car] ever get sold? Just curious, I haven’t heard anything. Also thanks for your package, it was awesome. I especially loved your letter, mom. Also, you had a question about sacrament for the dead [and why we don’t do it, even once for someone who has died]. I thought that was a really good question! I never found a direct answer, but it somehow kind of made sense when I read it was a replacement for the sacrificial altar stuff. So it is there to help us always remember Christ, but in itself, it isn’t a covenant or promise that brings us closer to the celestial kingdom, except of course through repentance. I dunno maybe repentance is different after this life?

Speaking of gospel stuff, I’ve been working on an outline of the Plan of Salvation using only scriptures and a few headings. I thought I show it to you. It has been really cool to work on! I’ll attach it at the bottom. As for Sawyer, I wrote him advice last week [about trying out for soccer], so I’ll just say that I know you are going to do awesome, and no matter what happens, hard work will make you even better.

I’m going to preface this with saying I’m fine, we’re fine, it’s all fine. I’m happy. I like being where I am. But…

In all honesty, this week was rough. We didn’t find anyone, and we taught very few people. We struggled just to get people to answer their phones. We have investigators, but they are all on vacation or busy with school. It was painful, it was annoying, and it is okay.

I’m not accepting defeat if I say we worked hard, right?

Honestly, I haven’t struggled to find or teach my whole mission until this area, which is admittedly tiny, but is actually my biggest area so far. I’ve always had a strong testimony that if you work hard and you are obedient, you will have success, and if you work hard, obey, and you work skillfully you will have a lot of success. (That part is left out too often).

But I feel that we are working extremely hard, and we try every day to be obedient, and if anything, I’m more skillful when it comes to finding and teaching and planning now than I ever have been. And I would be lying if I denied that I have been getting frustrated.

At first a few transfers ago, I was sure it was a test, so I just pushed through it. But it never got consistently better. So I thought maybe I had let up, that I needed to work harder, but no change was seen. If anything, it got worse.

Then, I decided it must be me, that I was making mistakes. So I threw myself into scripture study, my comp and I planned lessons more intensely than ever to make every moment packed with the Spirit (and we did see a huge difference), we switched up finding techniques, my prayers were more sincere than ever, I worked to purge any little bit of desire for “numbers” out of me, we worked through the members to get referrals, (and got them, but then nothing happened with them), I prayed and prayed and prayed for charity, until I came to love my investigators and the ward like I never have before, and we looked for any shred of service we could do all day long.

We weren’t perfect, but we were growing. And the outcome was exactly the same.

Now, I was left with a conundrum, and a few options. Either:

1. It was my fault,

2. The Lord couldn’t help us, or

3. The Lord was helping us as far as he could, but Frankfurt Oder is doomed to not be successful.

But:

1. I will continue to grow, but I feel I am doing my best and that is good enough.

2. That’s ridiculous, the Lord has all power.

3. I will never ever give up on my area like that.

We briefly considered that we were just “planting seeds”, but I intensely hate that phrase. I feel like it’s used too often as an excuse. I think it is an important skill to recognize how much good you can do, but success is finding, teaching, baptizing, and keeping, which includes getting people to the temple.

So I’m confused.

This whole time, I felt like this was just supposed to be a growing experience for me, which was terrible. One thing I’m pretty sure of, because of some spiritual temple experiences I’ve had, is that the Lord and I are on the same page about this whole mission thing, and He will never let my personal growth get in the way of the fact that I am here to help people. In other words, I know he wouldn’t just briefly stop the missionary work so little ol’ Elder Greaves can be toughened up. I just know that.

One thought I had was that this time is not set up to be productive here at this very moment. It seems like outside circumstances are stacking against us, what with vacationing, including our two best member friends, who were our main connection to our investigators. Maybe this is a time that is just going to be tough. So this isn’t a test or trial, the Lord just sent 2 buttkicking missionaries here to ride the bull, so to speak, and He is helping us in ways we don’t yet know, and he needs us to keep working hard, because I still get the feeling that Frankfurt Oder is on the brink of something big. Every investigator has potential, they just need a little push into investing more time. It all feels like it’s building to something – I just don’t know if I will personally be here or not. This thought is, in a way, inspiring.

One experience we had illuminated this.

We decided Saturday to really try and follow the Spirit to know where to go. We decided to pray (quickly) at every single turn to know which direction to go. Then we would announce which direction we felt inspired to go, and if we matched, we would go that way. We probably took about 35 turns, and every single one, we always chose the same direction separately. The chances of that, even very conservatively calculated, are between 0.00000009% and .000003%. At the end, there was no super prepared investigator, just a good conversation with someone that is not interested right now. It’s evident that the Spirit is working with us, and that we can feel it.

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One investigator we did meet with is named Bruder J. He is new. He is a really old guy with lots of health problems, but underneath the German is a really sweet, honest old guy who just needs some lovin’, which just happens to be an Elder Allen/Elder Greaves specialty. Really, I like him a lot.

This week I studied the Plan of Salvation from the scriptures. It is amazing how well the scriptures teach it. You could honestly teach the whole plan of salvation just by pointing out scriptures and saying nothing. I love the scriptures.

Have a good week!
Elder Greaves

[Elder Greaves sent two videos this week.  Mom watched one and one only.  Send an email if you would like to see the videos and we will forward to you.]

Video 1:  “This guy’s name is Member Missionary Machine. He’s a stud, and he and Elder Allen like teaching each other stupid German and English words.”

Video 2:  “This video involves a mouse mom. Be warned. But I think it’s funny.”

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Hey guys!

This week has been pretty okay. We had too many fallen out appointments and not enough answered phone calls, but we did everything we could and we helped the people we did meet with. This week I’ve just felt really good. I haven’t done everything right, but I feel like I’m trying, and that feels good. I just really love my mission. I feel like it is going faster and faster, and I can barely keep up. It’s so rewarding and life-changing and testimony-strengthening, and just plain fun.

In response to the whole block party thing, [where we invited the missionaries to have dinner with our neighbors] that’s awesome! I hope those missionaries were trying to convert people instead of just standing there. 🙂  I really don’t understand why we worry about offending people. If you had a favorite flavor of ice cream, would you be afraid to share that with friends? How much better is the Gospel?

As far as how I’m feeling, it’s awesome!  I truly feel so much more creative and happy lately.

Please don’t worry about last week. He is just a normal guy trying to act tough, and he literally knows nothing about our religion. We saw him again, and he was angry, but he didn’t even stop this time. He’s just a goof. And to clarify, I wasn’t purposefully antagonizing him, it was just so easy because he was so ridiculous. Don’t worry.

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This week, I’ve just realized how much my testimony has grown. I’ve had few earthquake moments, but just looking back, I can measure the difference in my testimony and it’s amazing.

Deeds make doubts disappear.

When you work, your testimony grows, simple as that. I’m grateful for it.

I love you guys. Have a good week!

Love, Elder Greaves