I don’t know if you all knew this already but missionary work is AWESOME. Just wanted to remind you of that again.
Sister Zeng is epic. I love her. Honestly we laugh so, so much. She’s so humble and sweet, and she works so hard with English! She doesn’t get frustrated when she can’t speak, but rather she asks for my help, and it’s been an incredible experience working with her. Gosh, I love her.
Also we sang a special musical number in Sacrament meeting yesterday, “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul.” And Sister Zeng and I sang part of it in Chinese! That’s right, I am currently learning Albanian and Chinese. Japanese is next. Don’t expect me to come home with a English accent whatsoever, sorry to disappoint.
Now onto bigger and better things- Michael in Newbury got baptized on Saturday! (He’s the one I taught at the beginning of my mission and then we had to transfer him but we continued to teach him while he was being taught by other missionaries too). The Mullen’s were able to attend his baptism and so I got to FaceTime in at the beginning and it was incredible to see him all dressed in white. He asked for my help with picking some hymns for his baptism, and was very kind to keep me so included in his special day. I’m so thankful for the impact he’s made on my life. I love him so, so much!
Our other friends are doing well. Mike the magician is a world class magician in case y’all didn’t know. So he’s off traveling to Spain and Moscow for the next couple weeks doing magic shows. Jan surprised us by bringing his wife from Germany this week, and she’s going to start meeting the missionaries in Germany! Now let me tell you how incredible God is- her German isn’t the greatest, and there is an English speaking ward (congregation/service) in her hometown. That isn’t a coincidence my friends. God has everything lined up just how it is supposed to be.
Other than that, we had some fun other little experiences this week. From very interesting lessons with a flirty Muslim to drunk men on the street to possible broken in flats. There’s never a dull moment in London! Being a sister missionary always includes some odd times.
On Wednesday, we had a Zone Conference in which a main focus was on the Book of Mormon. I’ve thought a lot about the Book of Mormon recently, and how it provides the evidence of if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in fact as claimed, the true and restored Church of Jesus Christ.
Or if stated quite simply and boldly, the Book of Mormon is a complete fraud and hoax.
I am in London proclaiming the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, doing part of the most important and wonderful work under the heavens. Or, I am spending a year and a half spreading lies and deception. There’s no in between. Everything I stand for and believe is either true and magnificent, or completely false.
And that is what makes the Book of Mormon so important in this work.
My study began by reading a talk by Tad R. Callister. (You can read his talk here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/the-book-of-mormon-a-book-from-god?lang=eng) He begins by saying, “Years ago my great-great-grandfather picked up a copy of the Book of Mormon for the first time. He opened it to the center and read a few pages. He then declared, “That book was either written by God or the devil, and I am going to find out who wrote it.” He read it through twice in the next 10 days and then declared, “The devil could not have written it–it must be from God.”
“That is the genius of the Book of Mormon–there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud. This book does not merely claim to be a moral treatise or theological commentary or collection of insightful writings. It claims to be the word of God–every sentence, every verse, every page. Joseph Smith declared that an angel of God directed him to gold plates, which contained the writings of prophets in ancient America, and that he translated those plates by divine powers. If that story is true, then the Book of Mormon is holy scripture, just as it professes to be; if not, it is a sophisticated but, nonetheless, diabolical hoax.”
Jeffrey R. Holland’s words then echoed through my mind. (You can find the video that includes the following here: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-03-08-testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng) First he refers to when Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were in jail about to die and found comfort in and continued to testify of the Book of Mormon. Elder Holland then says, “In this their greatest–and last–hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
“Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as impostors and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
“For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history–perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died–from deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.””
I honestly feel lost for words, because though I’ve been approached by men telling me to “throw that book in the rubbish bin,” I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have read it, I have felt of its power and its goodness. I have prayed to know if it is true and searched for answers. I have defended it and now I have left my family, friends, school and relationships, crossed an ocean with it in my hands, and continue proclaiming it to be another witness of Jesus Christ. And I will in no way say it is a false book, because it is in hand with the Bible, true scripture.
My friends, I would ask each of you to open the book. Begin to study it out. Take those 531 pages and ask God if those pages are true. You cannot deny the truthfulness of the book until you have read it and tasted of the goodness it contains.
It breaks my heart when people won’t at least attempt to find if the Book of Mormon is true through reading the actual book. A man once stopped us on the street, telling us how false the Book of Mormon is. Our simple response was, “Have you read the Book of Mormon?”
After weaving in and out trying to avoid the question, he ultimately had to say that no, he had not read it. If you do not open the book and crawl over or under or around the Book of Mormon, you can in no way claim it to be false. Because I promise you that if you truly study and ask God, you will find the Book of Mormon to be a true second witness of Jesus Christ. Along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon will establish God’s word, because as Paul taught, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).
I love the Book of Mormon. It is incredible. I think of all those who sacrificed so we can have the Book of Mormon today. It was written for our day to help us! How blessed we are. I promise you that the Book of Mormon can strengthen your faith in Christ, help you through tough times, and answer your prayers. You just have to read it, pray with real intent, and you’ll know it’s true.