Wow this week has been amazing. I really love being here. It's not all butter and gravy here but I cannot say enough how much I love this place.
So on Tuesday our devotional was from Elder Lowell who used to be in the seventy. He gave a great talk but my most favorite part was that he said "Become converted unto the Lord; rather than the church." Church helps bring us unto God. That is why God commands us to go to church each week. It is the doctrine of the church that matters. It is the Lord. It is God.
Three of my friends from back at school got into the MTC this week, Zach Hammond and Garrett Houston from BU and Stephen Slater from Harvard. I have a picture with Stephen but it was great to see all of them again. I really miss Bishop Porter and the whole ward back there.
This week I have also realized that the only real way to truth is to ask God. I love the mormon message on YouTube entitled "Origin" that talks about this principle. Highly encourage you all to watch it. We cannot ever fully gain a testimony of something through literary analysis or objective learning, because there will always be evidence to both sides. That is always how science works. Science is a million miles wide and an inch think. We must ask God to know the truth of things and he upraideth not and it shall be given us to know of the truth if we ask sincerely to know of anything's truthfulness (James 1:5-6).
Also, on the 4th of July I played piano for the MTC Devotional. There were 5 people that performed different things and I was lucky enough to get a spot in the program. I played my song "Lights Out!" This is the the very fast song where I sit on the piano at the end. I actually renamed it "Battle of Saratoga" for the program because we felt that it sounded like a battle song and I wanted the name to be patriotic for the show. Anyways it went really well and I actually got a standing ovation from the 3000+ missionaries there. Plus it was broadcast to the west campus MTC since there wasn't room in the little stadium for them to come. It was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life to watch all the missionaries stand up. Once I sat down I had to get back up and bow two more times before they would sit down. A really humbling and honoring experience. I have never had that happen to me before. From this experience I have actually come to know the MTC president and his wife, President and Sister Nally pretty well. They are awesome people.
That night we were able to watch the fireworks that were shot off at the stadium of fire at BYU where Carrie Underwood was performing. They actually timed it where they started the fireworks as soon as our July 4th devotional program got over. Really awesome 4th of July. I did not think it would be so awesome. As part of the program they showed the movie "17 Miracles" which is really really good. I would recommend it for anyone.
One other thing. As I have been studying Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon this week, I had the thought that either Joseph was pretender or Prophet.. Either he had all the many visions he claimed to have or not..Either he saw the Father and the Son as a 14 year old or he didn't. How can you know? All you have to do is read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.. I have done this and I know that the Book of Mormon is no mere mortals words. It is God's. I cannot deny it.
"Good fruit cannot come from a bad tree." Joseph Smith was either one the greatest men to ever walk the earth or else he was something much much worse. The same goes for Jesus Christ who claimed to be the Son of God. Either he is what he says or else he is something so terrible that it is hard to imagine. They cannot be something in between. Do not let yourself try and come to that compromise. But if they both produced good fruit then it must of come from a good tree. Then Jesus must be our Savior and Joseph must have restored his gospel.
I never thought about this but the atonement of Christ not only helps us overcome sins but can help lift our burdens. He can help lift our loads.
One last thing. This is from Elder Bednar and I love it because it is so true within the church today. There are Doctrines, Principles and Applications. Doctrines are revealed simple truths that answer the "Why" question. Principles are the guideline from Doctrine for the righteous action of moral agency and answer the "What" question. Applications are the behavior and action and answer the "How" question. In Church people often discuss applications. They often have problems with the applications. For example going to church, hometeaching, family home evening, fast offerings, tithing, chastity etc. If you understand the doctrine the "WHY" question, you will do the application. Otherwise you will just find yourself manipulating the application. On the mission you find a lot of investigators with questions about applications. But you should never answer application questions with applications. Always answer application questions with doctrine.
Wo ai nimen. Shen ai Meiyige ren. Shuo dui nimen shage xing qi.
Ping Zhang Lao