I’ve been sitting here trying to type this email for about an hour, and I’m still not sure what to write or how to write it. Maybe there is someone out there who is supposed to read this, and I just don’t know who it is yet, but here it goes.
This starts with a rather long quote from President M. Russell Ballard in his talk, “To Whom Shall We Go?” This talk is in relation to Peter choosing to follow Christ no matter what hard things have or may come across his path.
“For some, Christ’s invitation to believe and remain continues to be hard—or difficult to accept. Some disciples struggle to understand a specific Church policy or teaching. Others find concerns in our history or in the imperfections of some members and leaders, past and present. Still others find it difficult to live a religion that requires so much. Finally, some have become ‘weary in well-doing.’ For these and other reasons, some Church members vacillate in their faith, wondering if perhaps they should follow those who ‘went back, and walked no more’ with Jesus.
If any one of you is faltering in your faith, I ask you the same question that Peter asked: “To whom shall [you] go?” If you choose to become inactive or to leave the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where will you go? What will you do? The decision to “walk no more” with Church members and the Lord’s chosen leaders will have a long-term impact that cannot always be seen right now. There may be some doctrine, some policy, some bit of history that puts you at odds with your faith, and you may feel that the only way to resolve that inner turmoil right now is to “walk no more” with the Saints. If you live as long as I have, you will come to know that things have a way of resolving themselves. An inspired insight or revelation may shed new light on an issue. Remember, the Restoration is not an event, but it continues to unfold.
Never abandon the great truths revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Never stop reading, pondering, and applying the doctrine of Christ contained in the Book of Mormon.
Never fail to give equal time to the Lord through honest attempts to understand what the Lord has revealed. As my dear friend and former colleague Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, “We should not assume … that just because something is unexplainable by us it is unexplainable.”
So before you make that spiritually perilous choice to leave, I encourage you to stop and think carefully before giving up whatever it was that brought you to your testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in the first place. Stop and think about what you have felt here and why you felt it. Think about the times when the Holy Ghost has borne witness to you of eternal truth.”
I wish I could have sent this talk to every single less active member we are working with before they stopped coming to church.
Choosing not to do the simple things like praying, reading, and going to church is such a perilous choice.
Right now, we have so many people we are teaching that we are trying to help understand this principle: in order to grow a testimony, it takes the actions of praying, reading the scriptures, and coming to church.
I’ll give you an update on a few of the people we are working with and you’ll see why these small things would be so important.
She has a baptismal date and loves meeting with missionaries. However she refuses to pray if she is not with missionaries, so she has no ability to develop her own testimony.
She said she was happier three months ago. We asked her what was different three months ago and she straight up said reading, praying, and going to church. When we invited her to start doing those again she said that it was going to be too hard to get back in the habit again.
She feels so touched that missionaries come out at such a young age, but she refuses to read the Book of Mormon or come to church, so she has no way of learning unless she’s with missionaries.
If I could say anything that I have learned while on my mission, it’s do the basics. The hard times will come; they always do. Sometimes they rock the testimony that you do have. Sometimes you have questions that become a huge stumbling block. HOWEVER! Pray. Read the scriptures. Go to church. Put yourself in a place where God and Christ can help you understand.
I love you all and will share a cool experience we had this week.
The 14 year old that we are teaching named Nami asked her parents if she could get baptized, and they said ‘no.’ You could say we were all a little heartbroken. But she still came to church. She still prays. She still reads the scriptures. It’s the basics Haha wow. Anyways, she came to church this week and in the Sunday school lesson the youth were being asked what they could do to prepare for Jesus Christ to come again and after a few minutes of yelling out random answers, Nami raised her hand and goes, “get baptized”. The teachers and us missionaries were all a little shocked, but she gets it. She’s got the faith. Any prayers in her behalf would be greatly appreciated.
I hope you all have a great week!
I promise my group email will be better next week!
I love you all so so so much!!!