A few weeks ago, I was called to be the ward mission leader. Since then, I have been pondering on what I need to do to magnify my calling. I have served with a lot of different ward mission leaders both on and off my mission. Some jumped in with the missionaries. Others never learned the missionaries’ names. Some rarely missed an opportunity to attend teaching appointments. Others rarely attended Church itself. Some were overbearing in their calling. Others couldn’t bare to be in their calling. It’s a wide spectrum. So how does the Lord want me to serve? What should my focus be? How can I put new energy into visiting the “same ten people?” Or do we need a new approach entirely? A lot of weighty questions on my mind. I’ve been trying to discern how Christ wants me to serve in this capacity.
This post originally appeared on Power in the Book of Mormon. I was sitting at a crowded airport gate a few days ago, planning out episode 9 of my Small and…
I loved the second area of my mission. The Bishop was totally on board with missionary work. The ward mission leader was a rock star. The ward was warm and accepting. And the boundaries were large enough to stave off knocking on someone’s door more than once every 2 months or so (this was back in the day when tracting was almost all missionaries ever did). It was really awesome– definitely one of the highlights of my whole mission. I was there a long time. I spent 6 months (and 5 companions) in that ward. But no matter how awesome an area is, you can still burn out.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you today? How about the past week? The past year? Or overall? Would you (and those around you) consider you to be a generally happy person overall? Maybe you’re just not a “happy” kind of person. Maybe you’re not a total grump, but maybe on the overall personality spectrum, you’re a bit closer to the Mr. Grinch end than the Relief Society President end. Maybe you’re holding out hope that you would be eventually happy. You know, once your sons have returned from their missions. And your quorum takes their ministering assignments seriously. And your husband stops leaving the toilet seat up. Or maybe you’re just enduring life right now and looking forward to that day of release when you will finally be able to rest in eternal felicity in heaven because sure then you will be happy, right?
I like listening to my dad tell stories from his time in the army. One thing he observed is that the drill sergeants he had were very much like the drill sergeants you see in the movies: insulting, swearing, and strict almost to the point of abusive. And he saw why. Although my dad was a married, returned missionary with 2 kids when he enlisted in the army, the rest of his group were 18 and 19-year old boys. And they acted the part. The primary goal in basic training is to crush you and try and get as much of the silliness and horseplay out of you as possible.
I’m in the middle of the saddest part of the Book of Mormon. Throughout the latter half of 3 Nephi, Christ ushers in a period of peace and national righteousness that gives us modern readers a little preview of the Millenium. Then, 3 Nephi ends, and by the end of the very next chapter, the Nephites are largely corrupt and ripe for their final destruction. No gradual decline this time– they come out in open rebellion against God, the day of grace is past, and you know this is the end of the end. Each time I read the story of their self-destruction in my studies, it feels more sad and sickening than the last. This time through, I noticed some interesting details from the war accounts from Mormon 2 that I had overlooked before.
This post first appeared on Power in the Book of Mormon The Atonement of Christ is the center of our faith. But it’s also the principle of our faith that is…
Years ago, I heard a Bishop say: “Brothers and sisters, the restoration was messy.” I didn’t think much about his wording at the time. But over the few years following (including my mission), I encountered a lot of people wanting to “educate” me about early Church leaders. Joseph Smith was the most common target, of course. They cited all sorts of stories about him that seemingly “proved” he was a lying, womanizing con man. I mostly brushed off these claims during my mission. Those critics were not historians. I knew their agenda. I figured they were mostly lies, or at least huge distortions of the history. So, when I got home from my mission, I bought an 800-page history of Joseph Smith. It was written by an active stake patriarch and Church historian who worked on the Joseph Smith Papers project, so I figured his book would blow away all those false accusations with the fiery testimony of truth. But I was surprised to find that instead of tearing down all the stories the critics had told me, history largely confirmed them. And you know what? That’s OK!
I have a confession to make. On my mission, I didn’t agree with a certain part of the missionary manual. But before you stone me for heresy, hear me out, and I’ll tell you how that changed.
I love the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. Here’s why…