Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Skeptic: Read the Book!

Dear skeptic—

I've talked with you in many places. You are an individual with many faces. I'm almost always impressed by your enthusiasm, especially when you're friendly but even when you're not. I always leave feeling that we have more in common than perhaps you realize. 

I've heard it all—Why did the Church practice polygamy? Why couldn't blacks hold the priesthood until 1978? Why can't women hold the priesthood? Why do you adhere to such onerous health and moral codes? Why are you hiding secrets from us in your temples? I could go on but I won't.

I know the Book of Mormon is true. You can, too

Sometimes you accuse me of oversimplifying these perceived problems when I use the Book of Mormon to respond to your objections. But why wouldn't the answer be simple? Nature herself is wondrously simple.

I discovered I enjoy playing the piano by actually playing the piano. I learned the Book of Mormon is true by actually reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

I do not understand how to build, repair, refinish, refurbish or tune a piano. I don't understand the intricacies behind creating hammers and strings and pedals and keys. I don't let that stop me from playing Clair de Lune and Liebestraume. I don't need to know all there is to know about the physical structure of a piano in order to understand its musical value of soothing and healing and inspiring human souls.

I don't understand all the details behind polygamy and priesthood, health codes and church history. And guess what? I don't need to know it all. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Because I know the Book of Mormon is true I know Joseph Smith is a prophet called of God. I know he restored the Savior's Church again to the Earth.

I don't need to know every historical antecedent in order to realize "what great things" the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has worked in my life and the lives of many millions more.

Someday I will find answers to all of those gospel questions. (I'm already finding some answers). If I'm lucky, maybe I'll even learn how to construct a piano. In the meantime I'm not giving up on the Book of Mormon any more than I'm giving up on Beethoven or Brahms. I've received spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true.

What greater witness can you have than from God?

A Friend

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mitt Files — Restoration

As He has always done, God provided a way for the restoration of priesthood authority after centuries of spiritual darkness. And consistent with revealed scripture, He did it through small and simple things. (see 1 Samuel 3:10, Alma 37:6-7)

In the early 1800s a 14-year-old boy—Joseph Smith—found himself grappling with important questions—Does God speak to man? Which church should I join? What does the Lord expect of me?

He searched in vain for answers from various denominations in and around Palmyra, New York. None of these churches were able to answer his questions. In fact, they just seemed to create larger concerns in his young mind.
"This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

Undeterred, the boy pondered a familiar scripture found in James 1:5. No scripture, he said, had ever come with such force into his heart or the heart of any human being.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
And that is exactly what young Joseph did; he asked God. Early one spring morning in 1820 he went to a grove of trees near his home. He knelt to pray. He couldn't possibly have imagined what was about to happen—
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (Joseph Smith—History 1:16-17)
God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith and told him to join no church, for none of them contained the fulness of the everlasting gospel nor the priesthood authority necessary to perform saving ordinances. In due time they would call Joseph Smith to be a prophet and to restore the Savior's Church once again on the Earth.

The Wondrous Restoration, Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Four Cornerstones of Faith, President Gordon B. Hinckley
Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Elder Tad R. Callister

Friday, October 12, 2012

Six Statements to Live By

"We should remember that saying 'I love you' is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need to consistently show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love."
-Elder David A. Bednar

"You can know the things you need to know. Pray that you will learn to receive that inspiration and remain worthy to receive it. Keep that channel—your mind—clean and free from the clutter of the world."
-President Boyd K. Packer

"Don't let the low standards and expectations of the world and others cause you to aim beneath your nobility and ability—dream big! What I know and have learned is that anything worth doing is not easy and that we can do anything that is not easy if we believe."
-Elaine S. Dalton

"Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace."
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality."
-Elder Richard G. Scott

"Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine. Let us therefore be kinder to one another and kinder toward ourselves."
-Elder Robert D. Hales