elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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Before I start . . .

Hi Guys!

And before I start, I probably should have done it last week, but Happy Birthday Aspen, and Happy Birthday Dad! Dad, your birthday was my 2 year mark, which was made extra special because that was the day that R was baptized. Pretty neat, huh?

This week was… turbulent. We had the intensive language course, which was, you guessed it, intense. The schedule every day was this: Wake up at 6:30 (of course), take a 45 minute tram ride to O’s house, eat breakfast, plan the classes I was supposed to teach. At 10, classes started. After one 2 hour class, we had lunch, then 4 hours of class, then dinner, then another 2 hours of studying. I would say about 80% of the time I was teaching, but sometimes I was learning too.

It was fantastic seeing Elder Weber again. He is one of my favorite companions, and we are definitely going to be hanging out a lot at BYU since we both are studying  German and another language. In the same classes. So we are together at least 2 hours every day.

I stayed at a hotel all week, which was terrible. I didn’t have enough clothes to last all week, and it was extremely hot. There was no iron, nor were there hangers, so my shirts were more wrinkled than an old missionary’s forehead.

We were in O’s apartment about 12 hours a day, and it just so happens to be just about the hottest, least ventilated apartment I’ve ever had to be in. Just miserable. And there were 7 missionaries there. And we were getting blasted in the face with a billion language things.

So there were a few spats.

One time, I was eating dinner, and I had just sat down and started it. I had been doing other things, preparing, etc., and there were the aforementioned 7 missionaries all in the kitchen all trying to find something to eat. The day before I had not eaten much lunch because I was too busy making lunch for everyone else, and they ate it all.

I skipped dinner that night too, because Elder Weber and I had to go grocery shopping for everyone (We felt like moms.

“Oh little Jimmy won’t like those vegetables. Better get a more safe flavor of mustard. Do you think the kids will eat this?”),

and then the next day it happened again that I didn’t get much food because everybody ate what I made before I could sit down. So I was starving, and was eating boiled potatoes and gravy, when we saw that time was up, and I was supposed to start the next class. I decided 5 more minutes to finish eating was a necessary sacrifice. Then a (actually really very nice missionary) – the group leader – kind of backhandedly cattily made a comment about how I was being irresponsible and disrespectful. Ooh, I was steamin’ mad. I dropped my fork with a clang and whipped around and stared him down and told him he’d better shape up, mister, and mind his own business.

Maybe a little loudly.

2009-03-16-Whoops

Everyone got real quiet after that.

Ah well, no one said you’d come home perfect from your mission, so I guess I’ll just have to work on that temper when I get home. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he totally deserved it, but I still shouldn’t have done it. Sometimes I think I’ve become a little too spunky . . .

But the rest of the time was really good. I made some really good friends with some missionaries I stayed with in the hotel. I stuffed them full of the language too. We covered in a week what took Elder Weber and I at least 3 months to do. They get a huge jump start in the language, which is really cool. Also, Elder Weber and I will probably be teaching classes later on with Skype.

After I got back, we had appointments with some new families they had found while I was gone. It didn’t work out, but an Albanian family did. I got to use my sweet knowledge of Albanian, which consists of three words: Hello, good, and very good.

But they are really neat, and I’m excited to meet with them in the upcoming week. We had some time to find, and it was awesome. Everybody wanted to talk.

One of my favorites weren’t even the ones that become new investigators. We started talking to two very elderly women on a bench. (Think 90.) Eventually, it was clear that they weren’t ready for the Gospel, but they were lonely. So we just sat down next to them and asked about their lives for the next 10 minutes or so.

We seemed to lift their spirits, and we just told them we thought it was amazing that they never gave up through all their trials (one of them had lived through WWII). We told them that God was waiting for them on the other side and when they got there, He’d give them a hug and tell them He was proud of them.

Like I said, they didn’t want to learn more, but I felt like we helped them. And I came away feeling a love for the German people I’ve tried my whole mission to develop. I’ve always loved them, but I feel like I know now how much I love them, which I didn’t know before.

There are very few cultures on the planet that have experienced so much heartache, so much trial, so much guilt and pain and fear. Very few peoples have had such a rocky, turbulent history and have still come out human afterward. I’m proud of them, and though they have a long way to go, I have met true Germans who aren’t bogged down with the fear of the past that so afflicts so many. They are amazing, caring, direct, and bold. They are truly agents unto themselves.

If there is a problem, they fix it.

A trial, they overcome it.

They do what must be done, never grimly, never frustratedly, only determinedly. I love that about them. I’ve become more like them. By living among them, talking with them, and significantly, by starting to speak and think and even feel in their language (which is so descriptive of their culture), I have changed for the better. I hope, and I believe, that I’ve changed others here for the better as well.

I believe that very few things in this life can bring as much joy as giving 2 years of your life for a people, and really just falling in love with them as you do it. I’m am so grateful for these last 2 years.

I have a lot to do with this week and a half.

A quote I like (and will paraphrase) from Dieter F. Uchtdorf goes something like this:

“When serving your mission, you are in the middle of your mission until you’re home.”

I’m really enjoying this part of the middle of my mission. I’m pumped to hit the ground running, lift some hands that hang down, and leave it all on the court. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime, so it’s going to be good. 🙂

I love you guys! Have a great week!


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NO time!

Hey guys! I’ll do my best to write as much as I can, but I really have almost no time for emails today. We have people to say goodbye too, and I’ll probably be up til the wee hours cleaning and packing.

Oh. So I got transferred.

I’m going to Neumünster, which is a somewhat small City (but still my biggest!) in the north, kind of near Denmark!

Look for the yellow marker!

Look for the yellow marker!

I also got called to be a district leader, which is causing me unneeded stress, honestly.  But I’m excited. My new companion’s name is Elder Weaver, and all I know about him is that he’s tall. So that’s good!

I’m feeling fine now, but I was really sick this weekend.

Germans are strangely into eating raw meat on sandwiches.

I had raw salmon the other day (smoked) and it was really good, but on Saturday I ate what was essentially raw bacon and yes, it absolutely killed me. It kind of felt like some little bacon wrestlers were using my intestines as the ropes around their WWE wresting ring, and they were definitely throwing down what I will – in polite society – describe as some wicked wrestling moves.

bacon wrestling

We kicked off the Family history class on Sunday with the members, leaving them all thoroughly confused, which was basically as expected, since middle-aged Germans are so completely inept with computers its embarrassing. We had a woman in her 40’s ask us how to turn off her computer, so that should be a fun little playhouse for Elder Allen in the future! But our plan was just to introduce the idea so they have time to invite their friends over the next 2 weeks to the first class. I think it will go really well. The members are excited. I think I’kll do the same thing in Neumünster when the time is right.

All in all, I’ve really, really sad to leave Frankfurt Oder. It’s the right time, but it hurts, too. Every transfer hurts, but this town is very special to me. I think I’ve learned the most here of any city on my mission. I’ve learned charity, and I’ve come to really love both the members and investigators in a very special way that I think only missionaries and parents can understand, in that this person has become someone you pray for constantly and think about daily and desire more than anything to help. I’m sure it’s more extreme for parents, but it’s an interesting dynamic with complete strangers who are older and more experienced than you are.

I’ve learned to love the scriptures even more, and I’ve come to really appreciate them as the Word of God. I’ve been delighted and astounded to see just how much you can get out of every verse. It is so deeply layered and meaningful, and so completely beyond the capability of any human to reproduce. It’s almost like you can feel the imperfect human language and understanding straining and stretching under the rich immensity of meaning. It really can only be conveyed through the Holy Ghost.

And I’ve come to be extremely comfortable talking to people and being around them.

I’m excited to see what type of missionary I will be in Neumünster – I feel like every area I become a different one with new strengths and weaknesses!

I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Greaves

New Address is: (also updated on the contact me page)

Elder Caleb Greaves
Geibelstrasse 21
24536 Neumünster
GERMANY


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We had a ton of fun this week!

All the fun things:

1.  We had burritos (my first in 14 months)

2.  Went on a forest hike with Uwe our adventure pal (and had an awesome lesson) (pictures about this below)

Silk Road 1

This nondescript little road through the forest IS NONE OTHER THAN THE FREAKING SILK ROAD! This thing was the largest connecting road between Europe and Asia back in the day. As in, Napoleon the Great, who was truly dynamite, [HAHA] actually walked on this road, right here, according to Uwe, who is a hard core traveler and worked in this forest as a guide for like 15 years!

Silk Road 2

3. Talked to a violent Nazi, who’s a big fan (more on that later).

4.  We went to a second hand store in Poland, which is approximately 1.7 billion times cheaper than Germany. 6 very cool ties, an 80’s windbreaker, and 3 sweaters, one of which is cashmere that when worn, basically feels like being hugged by capitalism, for a whopping 23 Euro. In contrast, I bought a pack of socks in Germany today for 8 Euro.

5.  And all that other spiritual stuff.

We met more with Jacob, the guy from Chad. He rocks. But he talks a lot. 🙂 We invited him to pray about he Book of Mormon, and he did, and he believes it’s the word of God!

I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, because we were were talking to a guy on the street when this guy I will nickname Gigantor stepped out of his car, all 6 feet 6 inches of him, and bellowed,

“Ya wanna talk about God, ya do it with me!”

The guy we were talking to hurriedly left, and Gigantor earthquaked over to us, which is when we recognized him as the violent Nazi we talked to a month ago.

Promising.

(When someone says they are a Nazi these days, they are veeeeeeerrrrryyy radical. Like, Germany has no national pride or culture because of fear of becoming too nationalistic. They no longer sing their national anthem or fly their flag. But a Nazi is someone who is very about white pride and hates immigrants. (Which we also are, but whatever).  I tried listening to what he was saying, but I was really distracted by the gigantic scar across his face. Could he be more stereotypical?

He talked to us for a long time about how he loves God and all, but there are so many Muslims coming to Europe, we have to get “militant” back or we will never survive. He proudly told us he was “militant”, and I shudder to think what that means. We just spent the whole time being really neutral.

“Don’t you think your church should get violent?”

Mmm.

“Don’t you think Muslims worship satan?”

Mmm.

“Isn’t the Aryan race wonderful?”

MmmMMm.

Apparently everyone knows this guy, and he’s surreally friendly. At one point he grabbed a lady’s baby and said,

“Yeees! This is the future of Germany! Blue hair and blond eyes!”

But the point is, this is when things got weird. He called this guy over, who is this history wizard, and knew everything about Mormons. Turns out he’s a real-life, true-blue, I-even-poked-him-to-make-sure FREEMASON.

There’s a Freemason TEMPLE in Frankfurt Oder I’ve walked past a bajillion times and never even knew it. And he’s down to meet with us.

Cool.

I’m gonna wrap this up with what I learned in personal study this week, which is, and this is only my opinion, but what I think is the relationship between faith and doubt. I think sometimes we assume that we need to smother all doubt to make room for faith.

But I consider questioning our faith a crucial part of testimony building.

Unfortunately, I talk to people every day that have never asked themselves any question with any real seriousness. We always ask questions such as

“What brings you joy?”

Or

“What is your purpose in life?”

And it is always the saddest thing when the answer is

“I’ve never even thought about that”.

Or as another example, so many people consider the existence of a God as an opinion. I really cannot understand that. Either He’s there or He’s not. There’s not really any room for bias.

I sincerely hope that no Latter Day Saint ever just “goes with the flow”.

I hope we are constantly questioning, testing, and doing our best to find answers to life’s biggest questions.

One of my old companions and I talked about this, and we discussed how it actually takes faith to allow yourself to it knowledge the doubt you do have, and thereby look for answers.

I give my testimony that I know any question in life can be answered through the Scriptures, the words of the prophets, or by personal revelation. Finding these answers can only make us stronger. I actually wrote a poem about this, which is kind of embarrassing, but it was also kind of fun. Don’t judge it too harshly!

paddleboatIt’s an infinite battle
For the soul
Day and night
Light and dark
Pushing shoving squeezing
Faith in, doubt out
Right?
Wrong.
All aboard PaddleboatBelief
Gracing UncertainPond
Always trundling on
Keeping you dry
But it’s no perfect craft
Riddled with cracks, seams, and holes
QuestionWater seeps in
So you mend, seal, and patch
And bail with your AnswerBucket
That’s hard work
But no flaws could be found
Laying lazily on land
Not in denial but by the voyage
Is the vessel perfected.

Anyway, I love all of you guys very much. Thanks so much for everything. Special things to Grandma Ann and Grandpa What’s-His-Name for sending me a letter. It helped me. Also, I’ve never said this, but I want to thank you, mom, for the letter you sent me a few weeks ago. It is really special to me and it really really helped me a lot. I think about the words you wrote a lot. Have an awesome week!

Elder Greaves


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Pretty European Street

2015 8 31 Pretty European Street

First, Mom, your blog post was awesome! I really liked it a lot. I don’t know why this text is red or how to change it.

This week has been really good – and pretty strange. It all started on Monday, when we found out that we had interviews with President on Tuesday in Berlin, which is 1 hour 45 minutes away. And our interview ended at 8. So we had to stay the night with the Marzahn elders, the elders in our district. So we had to cancel a few appointments and we headed on over there. We got there reeeeaaaallyy early, and we just happened to run into Elder Allen’s old MTC companion.

After talking for a while, we thought it would be fun for all three of us to go finding in Berlin. We did a few minutes of that, then went back to the mission home. Due to some problems, some missionaries right before us had really long interviews, and so Elder Allen and Germann and I jumped on the trampoline in the dark, which was way too much fun. Then Elder Allen interviewed sweatily with President, by which time it was about 11:30 p.m.. Don’t forget, missionaries are supposed to be home between 9:00 and 9:30, and should be in bed by 10:30. But it was honestly pretty fun to talk to Sister Fingerle and other missionaries. Then, to sweeten the deal, the office elders drove us home. At this point in my mission, I feel like I know just about everyone. This decreases over time, so that by the end, you knew less people than when you got here. But for that night, Elder Short, former Bernburg district leader, Elder Draper, my trainer, Elder Germann, former district buddy in Bernburg with Elder Short and I, and Elder Allen, my trainee, we’re all in one care driving through the dirtiest scariest parts of Berlin at midnight.

SO.

MUCH.

FUN.

goofy smile

So we stayed the night in Marzahn, and slept for 8 hours, under strict orders from President Fingerle (sir yes SIR).

Then we had district meeting, and then I stayed in Berlin for the second night on exchanges with elder Germann, which was also super fun. Finding in Berlin is a blast.

Then, we exchanged back, and Elder Allen and I tried to go get my broken iPad fixed, but we couldn’t find the place. We decided to head home, but I don’t know Berlin that well, and we took a very slow way back, so we missed a train, and we were sitting in the train station in Berlin at 9:30, so basically worse off than earlier in the week. So we had to stay the night in Marzahn AGAIN, and by that time it had lost its fun.

So we got up early Friday and went back to Frankfurt Oder, where I got to put on that change of clothes I forgot to bring.

Blech.

icky

In the mean time, Elder Allen and Elder Williams found a few people, so we met with a few of them the rest of the week.

One of them is super awesome! His name is Jacob, and he’s from Chad.

Chad

The first time we met with him, we tried teaching the Restoration, but w didn’t make it super clear and he didn’t get it. But we did get to know him. He ha a tough past, but he’s actually a civil engineer!

Of sorts.

I don’t think that’s quite the same in Africa as it is here or in America, but he did do drafting and built houses. Then on Sunday, we got up super early to get him to church, and he really liked it. The first hour is Sunday School, so we held an investigator class, and taught a much better Restoration lesson. He LOVED it!

He started reading the Book of Mormon as soon as I gave it to him, and every free minute during church and afterwards, he was reading it. We we’re with him this morning (he was helping us move furniture for a member) and he had read all of the book of Jacob and thought he was a pretty cool guy, considering they have the same name and all. 🙂

So anyway, we will definitely put him on baptismal date this week. If he had come to Germany 2 weeks earlier, I probably would have seen his baptism, but no joke, there would have to be some monumental screw up for him not to be baptized by the end of next transfer.

We also met with Frau F, the butt-kicking 87-year-old. We planned to teach her the Restoration, but only a part of it. She was so engaged and understood it all so clearly, we ended up teaching the whole thing. When we leave her house, we always just have the biggest smiles on our faces, because she’s probably the cutest old lady I’ve ever met. Sometimes, she just breaks down into giggles about some things and it’s so awesome. We invited her to church for example, which is a half hour away. She said she really wished she could, and then, barely able to get the words out she was laughing so hard, she said

“I can’t ride my bike all the way there!”

She was somewhat relieved to find out we could get her a ride. 🙂

We also met with a convinced Jehovah’s Witness, which was… Interesting. It’s kind of fun to meet with other people who are well-versed in their church, because you learn what things you have just taken for granted as truth, and at least for me, it just strengthens my testimony.

A few differences they have:

1. If it’s not in the Bible it is not true.

2. We aren’t a body and a spirit but just a body.

That may not sound like a big deal, but think about all the other doctrines that screws up: No premortal existence, they believe Jehovah to be Heavenly Father (Christ didn’t exist before his birth), the Holy Ghost is not a being but something like electricity, after we die, we are just sleeping until we are resurrected, so no spirit world and no salvation for the dead. All from one difference!

3. They have no concept of “receiving an answer”.

People are converted to their religion when they agree that their religion is the only religion that matches the Bible exactly. when we asked him how he knew the Bible was true, he said “Because it talks about Jesus.” If we asked him why he believed in Jesus, he would probably say “because he’s in the Bible.” I don’t want to attack any other religion, but that idea was so foreign to me that we barely even knew how to answer. Isn’t a spiritual confirmation the goal? Doesn’t the Holy Ghost support truth? How can you assume such things without just asking God? But I’m sure they have things about our religion that don’t make sense either.

We felt really good about this last week. I’m pretty bummed that i’ll almost definitely be leaving in about 2 weeks, right when things are looking awesome, but I’m excited that Elder Allen has another transfer to finish things up!

I hope everything is going well at home! I hope school went well.

I love you guys!

Elder Greaves


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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 ¶Then 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.

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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.

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[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!