Friday, October 19, 2007

Letters from Missionaries--Daejeon Korea

My daughter in the Daejon Korea is a very bright and theologically fine thinker. She shared the following email with me on which I hope others will comment:

You see I realize now that this mission is my turning point, my one chance of changing the road that I was on into one that is destined for the Celestial kingdom of God. I realize now that in general we as members of the church take the covenants that we made in the temple lightly and insincerely. I luckily have never violated any of my covenants. I wish that I could give you a play by play outline of every moment and every impression of the spirit. However since I don't have time I will share just one this week. I lately have been pondering the importance of prayer and the commandment to pray always. In order to pray always it must be more than an insincere half-hearted attempt to think about God. It is literally forcing yourself to have two conversations at once, since you must be capable of communicating to others as well as keeping a actual focused conversation with God. Quite honestly it is very hard and I can rarely do it. However I have found that the most effective lessons I have taught have included this principle. One such lesson took place this week at an investigator has met with the missionaries for over a year. I have only met her three times in the time I have served in this area but as I have earnestly fasted who is prepared for baptism here I thought of her name. I dismissed this after the second time that I met her because her lack of attention or interest in the gospel. However the last time we met her she prayed for the first time in her life. Because of the holidays here in Korea we were unable to meet her for several weeks, This week when we met I went out of duty but she was different, she had read the bible and had felt something. I began to pray, and even though it was very difficult I began to know exactly what to say. I testified of the Atonement. I then asked her if she desired to know God better. She responded that she was afaid that she would make too many mistakes and that he wouldn't love her. I still do not know the answer to that problem myself, but I answered her surely that day that his grace was sufficient for her. I have often wondered if God could truly love me. I also struggle to know if I have any hope for salvation. What the spirit spoke to me that day is that even Christ bears the nail marks of his suffering today...that isn't the point. I gave her a baptismal commitment and she will tell me on Saturday that she will be baptized...I am certain of that. However, the following day I felt prompted to study the account of Abraham, in conjunction with the questions inspired by that experience. I have concluded that the only point of Abraham sacrificing his son is the feelings and choices he would have as a result of that experience. God knows all things, therefore it would be only in behalf of Abraham's experiential knowledge that this kind of test was given. So, what is so important about that feeling at that moment? Also why is it that in life we have experiences that produce heart-wrenching sorrow? I have determined that this experience 1) proves something about our self 2) proves something about God. This is a question of both our and his integrity. " This seems like such a high standard. Why must one be tested and chastened before he can be sanctified? Why can a person not be worth of God unless he is willing to abide in the covenant even to death? To understand these questions and gain greater insight into why Abraham had to prove to  himself, think in the eternal perspective for a moment. Imagine the disastrous consequences of making a person a god who was not perfect in every respect. How would the universe survive if it were controlled by a god who could not withstand even intense pressure? Where would we be now if our God had not been disposed to endure the suffering of seeing His Only Begotten Son go to the cross? If Abraham had failed his test, he would have lost his position. If God the Father had failed the same test there would have been no Atonement and all mankind would have 'become subject to that angel who fell before the presence of the Eternal God, and our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become be shut out from the presence of our God' " (I don't know who said it) Here we must ask ourselves Do I truly desire the celestial kingdom, Godhood, and a place on the right hand of God? Then we must stand in front of the mirror and see yourself clearly and ask Can I do what is required to become as God? If the answer to either of these questions is no than we violate the core of our temple commitments. We become the called but not chosen, for all are called by God to do his will. Our Father's will is clear "for this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men" Our Godhood is his will, and we must see things as they are. It sometimes seems to hard. The cost is too great, we must walk the same path as Abraham to the alter and lay everything upon it, the shame of this world waits us there. Others will not understand, they will see us as nothing. The truth is the opposite of love is not hate the opposite of love is ignore, and the world will set us as naught. The "church" may even see us as nothing. So what makes it worth it. Does our Father love us unconditionally? Does he still want us to return to him after the horrible crimes we have committed against him? We come to the question of his integrity. Why does he love us. I can't answer that question for myself yet dad...but if you tell me maybe I can believe, everything I understand about a father's love is what you have taught me. Do you still love me even though I have never done anything to deserve it? Do you love me even though I did things that should have lost your trust and respect forever? Can I still hope for a place on the right hand of God? If God is perfect then the nail marks don't matter to him, he would still have us with him, not clean as a child, but clean wash free from sin, in the blood of the lamb, the blood of our own sins. So I am standing in front of the mirror, and I am afraid of what I see. I don't know why God would love someone like me, and I know that what he wants is more than what I WANT to do... But love makes it all worth it. Charity is the only motivation and the reward. I made temple covenants and even if I can never live up to them I only have this choice and this chance. Let me know your thoughts

No comments: