Monday, November 3, 2014

The Keystone of Our Religion

Homework:  Give a Book of Mormon to a friend or loved one and remember to always keep a BOM with you, in your car, backpack, purse and even by your bed.  You can even buy a military sized one!

Hola familia y amigos!  Guess what?! I can't even express how happy I am.  We had miracles one right after another.  We taught lots of investigators as well as families.  The best part about it is, that we ended up having and ENTIRE family of 5 attend church yesterday, plus two other investigators!  I haven't been able to keep a smile off my face this whole week. My heart is so full of joy and happiness to see investigators progressing and following Christ's footsteps.  This coming week as well we have many dates with investigators as well as a family that we found last week.  I'm super excited to get to know them.  Yesterday, my companion and I got to make breakfast with this family that we a re teaching.  It was so fun to see their smiling faces and their excitement to go to church for the very first time!

So this week I wanted to talk a little about the Book of Mormon.  I had some wonderful experiences to testify of the importance of it and what it can do for us in our life.  First I wanted to express three important things that President Ezra Taft Benson mentioned in his talk, "The Book of Mormon-Keystone of our Religion". 
1.  The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Christ
2.  It is the keystone of our doctrine
3.  It is the keystone of testimony

My companion and I got the chance to teach a mother and her daughter all of lesson 1 as well as tell them of our testimonies and the importance of the Book of Mormon.  As we offered the book, the daughter turned it down and then the mother did the same.  The same memory of what happened last week when one of our investigators turned it down as well.  During my first 5 months in the mission, these have been the very first times when someone has said, "no", to a BOM.  I have never felt so saddened and heart-broken.  Why would someone say no, to something so valuable.  In this same day, we taught another lady, and got on the topic of personal answers to prayer and how she has never felt like she can find many answers to her solutions.  We shared with her our belief and what the BOM is and testfies and what is can do to help us in this life.  As we offered her the book, her eyes lit up with start and she said, "really, this is for me!"  In that very same moment, she opened the book and read a verse and right then she had found an answer or words of comfort to something she had been worried about.  She couldn't express how happy she was to receive such a wonderful thing!  

In the talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, he said, 
"Once we realize how the Lord feels about this book, it should not surprise us the He also gives us solemn warnings about how we receive it.  After indicating that those who receive the Book of Mormon with faith, working righteousness, will receive a crown of eternal glory (see D&C 20:14), the Lord follows with this warning:  "But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation" (D&C 20:15)."

D&C 6:12
12 Make not thy gift known unto any save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things.

Some people accept the book and others decline it.  Some take it for granted and others look at it like it's a wonderful gift.  Some read it, and others don't.  Some look at the book and judge its cover and some believe it's true before even opening it.  I never really fully realized how important and how powerful such a little book could be until I came on my mission. The praying and studying its words have brought me and have opened my eyes and ears on a whole other level.  I have known that reading both the Bible and the Book of Mormon was something that was always important, it was something my mom always taught me, but how many times did I end up falling asleep or making up excuses or reading and my mind somehow tended to wander off into space thinking about what I was going to wear the next day.  Or about school or how I want Wendy's french fries and a frosty for lunch tomorrow, the list goes one and on.  But the moment I actually sat down and read the Book with an open heart and clear mind, I never realized how precious such a thing could be in my life.  Today I hunger and thirst to read more!  I have watched investigators do the same.  As they open the book and open their hearts to learn, they receive inspiration and conversion.  I testify that this book has brought me personal revelation, knowledge, understanding a closer and greater love for God and the people I teach.  As missionaries, many people ask questions we .  We can answer them, but what a privilege it is to read a book from God and read His own words to find answers...even better!  Your own knowledge will grow 10 times stronger as you find the answers.  It's like a test at school....What is going to help you get that straight "A" you've always been looking for?  Looking at your text book cover and walking away saying you already know all of the answers?  or Shoving it under your pillow and hoping the answers will magically flow through you brain?  No, neither is asking for the answers from other people going to help! Opening the book, searching, pondering, studying and practicing!  This book was so special that it was made just for us in this time and this generation.  From the same talk it says....

"Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations.  Nephi said: "The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation" (2 Nephi 25:21). His brother Jacob, who succeeded him, wrote similar words:  "For [Nephi] said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation" (Jacob 1:3).  Enos and Jarom both indicated that they too were writing not for their own peoples but for future generations (see Enos 1:15-16, Jarom 1:2)."

I know and testify that there is a unique power to the Book of Mormon and of the Bible!  That it really is the keystone to our religion and our salvation!  Without it, we would fall.  It has helped me to draw nearer to God and be more like Him and His teachings.  To feel the spirit as a companion more strongly and its protection!  As God knows me personally, I'm striving to know Him.  I have found answers to many questions.  As well as this, I can apply things I learn in my daily life.  I love the words, "there is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book, greater power to resist temptation, avoid deception and stay on the straight and narrow path."  The Book of Mormon can do many things for us, for our families and loved ones.  I testify that it is one of the most sacred gifts in my life.  I love that I am serving the Lord, Jesus Christ and I get to share the Book of Mormon with others and help them follow Christ's footsteps.  I leave with you a testimony from President Marion G. Romney:

"I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein.  The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow.  The spirit of contention will depart.  Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom.  Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents.  Righteousness will increase.  Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy and happiness." (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67.)

P.S.  For all of those Twilight book lovers.....As I once was.  Remember that time I tried to explain to you how awesome those books were and you all looked at me like I was some weird girl from Utah????  Well, what happened?......You all became addicted to them and became weird like me!  I now invite you to read the Book of Mormon and I promise you will find more joy and hunger and thirst our of that book more than another other. Thanks so much for your emails and cards!!  Love you!!

Hermana Chesler

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