|At Zone Conference|
It’s weird I’m twenty. I’ve now had two birthdays in South Africa. Really can’t believe that I’ve made it this far.
Anyways we tried to walk with this Nigerian guy to church the other day, and he lives like crazy far away from the church, so we finally got to him after walking for ages but he happened to be in the middle of some drug deal with cars and drugs swerving everywhere on this secluded street corner, so he was just like ‘bru I’ll just meet you there’, as he took of sprinting after a car w/ drugs in it peeling out of some alleyway, all while his blue copy of the book of mormon was in his hands.
So at this point, me and Elder Adjei were running late so we literally started running back to church, but it was getting closer and closer to nine o’clock and it became apparent that our legs wouldn’t beat the clock, so the thumbs went up and some super nice lady let us ride in the back of her bokkie and she took us to church. Hitch-hiking Mzanzi. I wouldn’t recommend it usually, unless you’re running late for a sacred ordinance, of course.
Anyways, I was contacting sometime this week in some shopping center before we got kicked out. I talked to this super argumentative guy who couldn’t wrap his mind around the Book of Mormon (nothing new here). He told me that I didn’t know that it’s true. Then I was like yeah tell that to the Holy Ghost who told me it’s true. Then he quoted Matthew 12: 31 that says ‘but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men’.
SO I guess I’m commiting the unpardonable sin in South Africa. It’s a shame that people don’t consider the proposition that God can write more books than just one. Accused and condemned on the spot or blaspheming againsed the Holy Ghost. Solid birthday present. I’m sometimes getting upset and sick of the wave of animosity and hatred againsed our church. Like literally everyday I’m told by people who claim to “know Jesus” that I’m wasting my time, and I should go back to America and read the bible. That what I’m doing is in vain, and that God sent me to that particular individual so that HE could convert ME, and bring me to the truth. The worst is when everyone says “I'll pray for you to find the light”..
For whatever reason I always confront the people who know like every single imaginary pigeon hole to counter our religion.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned: no other religion- christian, cult or otherwise; Believes in the divine potential that we as chlidren of the most high God can become. Daily I get torn down by people who say “Your church is false. You don’t REALLY believe in Christ, because you believe that you can become Gods” it’s like a broken record that plays again and again.
The apostle Paul declared to Timothy, and in essence the world: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
I’m telling you guys, from a ‘wanderer in a strange land’s’ perspective(aka not Utah); The world will tear down your noble birthright, it will annhiliate your ‘happily ever after’, it will allow your hopes, visions, dreams, forever families to fester in a contest of opinions. It’ll animalize you, degrade you, and mock your beliefs and standards. Make your royal Heritage at naught and of no importance.
It’s a time to stand tall, to embrace ‘sound’ doctrine. Your spiritual pedigree chart has one line, from you to Heavenly Father. Nothing in-between, your spirit is a direct offspring son or daughtor of God. Think of that for a family history chart. It would look like this:
The whole purpose of The Creation, The Fall, and The Atonement is so WE CAN HAVE FOREVER FAMILIES AND BE HAPPY JUST LIKE GOD. If He really is God, and He really loves us, and really has a fullness of joy, then He won’t stop at anything until we are as happy as He is. You have the seeds of eternity implanted inside your souls. You have the mantle of Godliness resting somewhere deep inside of you, the exalted royal lineage. The world will stop at nothing to make you think that you aren’t important. It will stop at nothing to degrade simple God-given truths.
I guess I’ve learned a couple things here in South Africa. I should probably share my last testimony as a teenager.
To be dead honest it’s hard for me to get answers about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and stuff. It’s like I’ve never had enough faith to totally tune every doubt out of my mind. So it’s a constant up and down struggle to really keep my feet under me and keep testifying about this stuff on the daily.
But it’s truth, it’s gotta be. There are so many claims, manifestations, influences that the world uses to degrade our message. Using God Himself and His words against this same God’s very cause.
But the truth is, when I read the end of the Book of Mormon, when I think about Moroni, being seperated from his father, being left alone to write the ‘sad tale of the destruction of his people’- I don’t think of Joseph Smith cross-referencing the King James Bible, thinking of how he could use literary devices, similies, parables, lyric and deciet to convey Moroni’s emotions. I don’t think of that.
I think of Moroni, a lone disciple of Christ, etching Egyptian characters with his muscular hands into plates of gold. Fulfiling what he was born into this earth, and foreordained to write. I think of him hiding from his apostate bretheren, the wayward Lamanites. I think of his prophetic tears running off his sun-beaten face and pooling in the egyptian engravings that the Lord was preserving his life to protect. I think of him mourning over the loss of his Nephite bretheren, and even more so, shedding tears thinking back to the time a few years earlier, when there weren’t Lamanites or Nephites, nor any manner of ‘ites’, because they were all joined together in one- One in the faith of Christ. See what happens when we follow Jesus’s charge to ‘be one, even as my father and I are one’?
I think about Jesus Christ coming to a hopeless, fear-stricken Moroni and showing him our day: “Behold I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing”
I think about how his words, and his testimony of the plates, I think about their perfect application and reality in our modern society today. I think about Moroni’s conviction and desperation to finish the holy record, seeing the calamities of our century. Knowing that the world needs this immensely. Read this and tell me if it’s not completely on-point prophetic;
“the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fufilled…the Lord should suffer to bring these things(gold plates) forth. And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, the Lord hath spoken it: for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord..and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as one should speak from the dead. And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness. Yea, it shall come in a day WHEN THE POWER OF GOD SHALL BE DENIED, and churches become defiled and lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts..yea, it shal come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempest, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; and there shall also be wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places. Yea it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and decievings, and whoredomes, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. Yea it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourself to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God?(transfiguring not only meaning changing the first texts of the bible but also not accepting an open canon) I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts..and your churches, yea even every one have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts..ye do love money..and the adorning of your churches more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted…why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Chrsit? Why do ye adorn yourselfs with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?”
Is this not the disease that the world is plagued with today?
I don’t believe even Joseph Smith, a man living in a far more modernized era of Earth’s history than the Nephites, could’ve conjoured up the prophecies of Moroni. Think of all the polutions- phsical, spiritual, mental, emotional, that are on the earth today that were not when Joseph was on the earth.
I have a testimony that this book is true, and all the deranged, paranoid, logic, evidence, and human wisdom under heaven don’t change the World’s stumbling block of the wisdom, reality, origin, and LEGIT-ness of The Book of Mormon. If it’s true, people ought to consider just what that means. Sorry for like rambling on, if I don’t write it out every once in a while it seems like my testimony is tempted to shake a little.
Anyways, kinda weird how after one year I literally have like 0 fear of looking like a nut-case, going from shopping center to shopping center, petrol station to petrol station, mall to mall, getting kicked out and smiling about it. My mission has just made me like not afraid to talk to anyone and everyone, black and white, bond and free. I always just pray that the people, the ones who are ready- will see that we’re waging the same battle fought by the apostles on the soil of the holy land. That in the midst of hundreds of modern-day King Agrippa’s, there’s one or two Alma’s. There’s one or two Peter’s. Who will recognize that we’re representing truth. Truth restored.
Anyways, I’m almost done. I’ve learned another thing over this past year- it’s that adversity refines you into a more beautiful and Christlike personality. Not like I suddenly have this great personality, but I’ve become a better person while laboring on the grounds of this hallowed continent. Adversity weaves the thread of your eternal cloak of character. An accessory that you take with you to the other side. One that is beautifully hand-woven and strong, not just this fair-weather cheap stuff. Adversity will deepen your character. Try not to pass out at the first sign of a thunderstorm. The sunset will be that much more extravagent and self-fufilling at the end of the day if you get pushed down once or twice.
ONE more thing, I’m sorry my fingers are about to combust into flames for typing all this.
A sweet talk inspired this thought;
“And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing his praise forever.”
Ok why would our author Mormon put his name 6 times in one verse? Maybe he wants people to know about his name? Maybe he wants to sound important? Wrong.
Someone a lot wiser than me said that The Book of Mormon likely was not named after it’s author. It was rather named after a place, a place called ‘Mormon’- A place where people came to a knowledge of their Redeemer.
One of my theories, of why people are scared about reading and even considering the Book of Mormon, is because deep down, people are scared to come closer to Christ.
To get closer to Christ, we need to strip ourselves of the unworthy things. If you were walking towards a big fire, you wouldn’t carry an open bottle of gasoline with you.
Joseph Smith described Him as “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of of his head was as white like pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun;”
So basically, The Book of Mormon is a place we can go to come to the knowledge of our Redeemer. Just like the place ‘Mormon’. You can’t approach the Sun without being refined, carrying nothing that will not be able to endure it’s presence. THAT is why people are scared of The Book of Mormon, because it unsettles our personal righteousness levels of ‘content’, and inspires us to become better, to come closer to the Redeemer. Our natural man is content where it is. The world is content, and it’s capacity for wickedness is growing ever-larger. Read the Book of Mormon.. aka The Book..(where we come to the knowledge of our Redeemer.)
The entire 19th year of my life has been spent scratching out a testimony of Christ. I believe He lives. And I also believe that our message is true, and even though sometimes it seems like we’re facing this mortal journey alone, He is always standing with us. When we defend the truth, we never stand alone.
I love you guys, thanks for all your support and everything. I hope you guys have another rubbish snowfall this year while I’m still gone. But I’m not bitter about missing ski season.
Elder Tanner Noah Clegg