Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eighteenth Letter Home 27 December 2011

Hey, I enjoyed talking to you guys on the phone. I had fun at the Peet's home, they made roast beef for dinner, and we watched "17 Miracles." President Weaver approved the movie. It was the second time I've seen it; we watched it as a zone on Halloween. It is really good. Have you guys seen it? If not, you should watch it. It is about the Willie and Martin handcart companies, and the miracles that followed them throughout their journey.

I finished the Book of Matthew today, and I also finished the story of Ammon and his brothers' mission to the Lamanites. I love that story, it is super good. It gets me so pumped about missionary work. Matthew was good also, but I can see how people could become confused by the Bible without reading the Book of Mormon. So many plain and precious truths have been removed from the Bible, and the ones that remain are kind of vague. The Book of Mormon is the single greatest piece of evidence that the Bible is even true. By itself, the Bible can be easily mis-interpreted, mis-construed, bent, shaped, and pointed in whatever direction those reading it want. But the Book of Mormon is a solid, pure testament of Jesus Christ, which confounds false doctrine, and acts as a stumbling block to all those who fight against the Church of Jesus Christ. Many have tried to pull it apart, dissect it, and prove it wrong, and have failed. Why? Because the origin of the Book of Mormon is simple, it is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, which was kept by the Lord's prophets, and delivered by a holy messenger to a boy named Joseph Smith. God has promised that if you pray about whether this record is true, He will answer your question, yes or no.

I love the Book of Mormon. It is my favorite book. I never get tired of reading it. It was interesting talking to you guys on the phone, particularly Dad. It used to be that I could talk with you whenever I wanted, I could receive council at the touch of a button. Now, I receive council, guidance, and encouragement every night when I get down on my knees and speak to my Heavenly Father. I talk with Him, I council with Him, and He talks back. When I pray at night, I ask questions, pause, and wait for the answer. The answers come very quickly often times, and other times, the story about the Brother of Jarrod pops into my mind, and I know that Heavenly Father wants me to come up with a solution on my own. When this happens, I come up with an idea, and then ask Him to bless my work.

The power of prayer is real. He truly does answer prayers. "Council with the Lord in all thy doings..." The key word is council. Talking to you guys on the phone reminded me of this.

This week is going to be a bit slow, everybody is still celebrating. I'm ready for the Holidays to be over so I can get back to work. We have to work anyways, and it is a lot nicer when you actually have something to do. I hope you guys have a wonderful week, and a happy New Year.


Elder Thornton

Thank you so much for the package, I really appreciate the gifts. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for sending me letters every week, I enjoy getting them.

Mom and Dad,
Thank you for the presents. I like the music you put on the IPOD, we listened to it today during personal study. Thanks for all the other things, and supporting me on my mission. I'm glad you have a lot picked out.

Where is it at?

Amber and Brad,
Thanks for the subway card, I've used it a couple of times so far.

Happy Anniversary! I hope you have fun in Vegas.

Brad, there is this guy in the ward that is a cop, and he's been on SWAT teams, he was a SWAT sniper, and an undercover NARC officer. He is about to retire now, and as a hobby he likes to build AK-47s. He gets the basic Kalashnikov platform, and then customizes them. His has a rail, a collapsible buttstock, and he is going to put an Aimpoint sight on it. Its a pretty cool gun. He wanted to take me shooting, but I told him it was against the rules. It would have been fun though.

Seventeenth Letter Home 19 December 2011

Hey guys, how are you? 

I'm doing great, I'm loving driving, I love this area, and I really, really don't want to get transferred. There is a good chance that I will be transferred in four weeks. 

This week has been slightly slow because we haven't been able to meet with as many people as we wanted, and out of our 10-people teaching pool, only 3 are progressing. 

One of our jail investigators was released from jail the other day. He wants to be baptized, but because he is on probation, we can't set a date without the approval from the Mission President. We had an investigator on date for Christmas Eve, but she wants her kind of father-in-law from Utah to baptize her; so it probably won't happen until after the first. I'm praying that it happens before I leave. 

Her name is Jackie, and I've been working with her since my first transfer. She is a really good and sincere lady. She has made big changes in her life, and it has been awesome watching the Holy Ghost work with her. She has a cognitive disorder that makes it difficult for her to read. 

When I first met her, she could barely read at all. Now, she is able to read the Book of Mormon, and comprehend what it is saying. I have witnessed the power of the Holy Ghost in not only teaching and testifying of Christ, but also in quickening her mind and helping her read. 

She tries super hard, and her countenance gets brighter everyday. It is super cool. We had two "sandbag" children confirmed on Sunday. (Sandbag is a term given to someone who gets baptized but not confirmed. It comes from a quote from Joseph Smith in which he said that if someone is baptized but doesn't receive the Holy Ghost, it does as much good as baptizing a bag of sand.) They had been sandbags for over four months. We've been trying to get their dad to bring them to church this whole time, lol. When I told the Bishop that they should be coming, he and everyone else in his office started making bets about whether or not he would show up. Everyone kind of lost faith. But we kept inviting him, and he finally showed up. We have one more sandbag, and hopefully he will show up next Sunday. 

Being a missionary is really funny, the other day we dumped a recent convert's alcohol down the drain, and right now we are holding onto a guys terms of release from jail. The things we do seem crazy sometimes. 

Sometimes Elder Fosburgh has anxiety problems: he doesn't like to knock on doors that have "no trespassing" signs. The problem is half our area has no trespassing signs and no soliciting signs; so I knock anyways. It makes him nervous. I look at it like -- the Lamanites had a huge no trespassing sign on the road into town, and they enforced it with their clubs. But that didn't stop Ammon; and he ended up baptizing half the kingdom. Grouchy people need the gospel too. Elder Fosburgh and I get along well, he is a good missionary. I can easily get along with Elders who like to work, and who obey the rules. 

Unfortunately some of the missionaries in our district don't obey the Mission Rules. President Weaver is trying to pin point who has problems so he can try and help them to improve, but these Elders dont realize he is seeking there own good, and when they find out he is coming they run and hide the things they're not suppose to have making it difficult for him to correct them. 

I feel bad for President Weaver, there is a lot of misunderstanding right now, and even the older, more obedient missionaries don't seem to respect him. 

I love President Weaver; I think he is awesome. He is a brand new Mission President, and he doesn't put up with anybody's rebellious attitude. He leads by the Spirit, and I know the things he asks us to do are inspired. 

I'm having a lot of fun out here. 

Thanks for the packages and cards, I haven't opened the packages because Sister Weaver asked us to wait until Christmas, lol. She is fun. 

Have a great week, and Merry Christmas.

Ti volio tanto benne. Mia Mamma none tornata a casa. Mia Mamma a andata a la aereo porto aprendere mio papa. Ti mando tanti bachoni. Grazie for the post cards, Felliz Navidad. Love,
Elder Thornton.


Thank you so much for your letters. I enjoy reading them. I got your package, but I haven't opened it yet. Thank you so much. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Hey Mom,

I do get to call home next Sunday, but only for 40 min. I think I did get a post card form Zia, I'll make sure to mention it. The Christmas Party was fun, and the ward parties were fun also. I have the package, but the Mission President's wife told us not to open them until Christmas, lol. I haven't opened it yet. Congrats on your new calling. I'll probably be calling around 2 or 3 o'clock your time.

Love you, bye.

Elder Thornton

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sixteenth Letter Home 12 December 2011

Week one of transfer-three came and went like the Navy SEALs: swift and efficient. It has been an awesome week. Elder Fosburgh is great, he is serious about missionary work, obedient, and fun to be around. We found five new investigators this week, and we have one on date for the 24th of December! I am having so much fun, I seriously love being out here. I'm going to miss Port Townsend when I get transferred, I really love the people here. 

I'll probably get transferred this coming transfer; but, this is going to be an awesome period. We have nine people in our teaching pool, I'm way super stoked. 

We've been teaching a kid in jail; he is 18 or 19. He has kids, and he really wants to turn his life around. I feel like he is sincere. He gets out of jail on the 20th, and he wants to start coming to Church. Its going to be kind of weird not having glass between us and him, lol. Elder Fosburgh had never taught in jail before, so he was pretty nervous, lol. Apparently it isn't a very common thing in the mission, except for here, lol. I've taught like six lessons in jail. Its not a very nice place to be — even on the side of the glass that I'm on.  Its funny, some sheriffs won't let us give the inmates Book of Mormons, while others will.  

Anyways, not much is new here. The work is great. The members are great. We have people to teach, and I'm having a blast. I finished the Book of Mormon, (I probably told you that already). I've started reading the New Testament, and I'm going to restart the Book of Mormon. 

I hope you have a wonderful week, I love all of you.
Elder Thornton

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fifteenth Letter Home 06 December 2011

Hey guys, 

Yesterday was transfer meeting, and it took up the whole day. We got a ride there from a sister and her fiancĂ© who I  baptized. She was my first baptism, so it was cool to get to ride with them. 

I did not get transferred. I am still here in lovely Port Townsend. I have a new companion though. His name is Elder Frosberg. He is a cool kid, serious about missionary work, likes paper work, and he has been out for about six months. I like him. We are gonna have a good time this transfer. I miss Elder Topp though, he was awesome. He went home yesterday, to New Mexico. 

It was a little weird being with a "dying" missionary, watching him pack his bags and stuff; especially during the holidays. But, I'm super excited for this transfer. We are going to see miracles. 

I saw Corey yesterday. He just got out of the MTC. He looked super slick in his suit with his name tag. I love seeing the Greenies on transfer day: They all have huge rain coats on -- even though it isn't raining; and they look like deer in the headlights. 

Transfer meeting is when you fully realize what you've just committed yourself to. You listen to all of the departing missionaries' final testimonies, and the fact that you're gonna be here for two years slaps you in the face like a bucket of cold water. 

It is difficult to explain, but you can see it in the Greenies eyes. I am way excited for Corey, he looked really good, the best I've seen him. I sensed that the MTC was a life changing experience for him. Missionary work is the best. There really isn't anything better. 

I don't really have any news or anything, I'm excited; I'm having fun. I'm warm, I'm trying not to gain weight... and I just finished the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon, what a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ. It is true, I know it is. 

I want to read it again, but I've decided that I need to focus on Preach My Gospel and the New Testament for a little while. 

We were supposed to finish the Book next Tuesday, but I couldn't put it down. I prayed about it again, I told Heavenly Father that knew it was true, He's told me -- like every time I open the Book, but I asked Him to tell me again, mainly just because I love being able to pray to Him and receive an answer right away lol. It is an awesome experience because you know He is there, and that He is listening. 

This time my answer was different, He basically reminded me of all the incites I'd received while reading this time around, and then reminded me of what Moroni says. If it inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to believe in Christ, then it comes from God. Then He told me it was true in my mind and in my heart. I love Moroni's promise, because it works every time. 

I promise you, anybody who reads this email, that if you will read and pray about the Book of Mormon, you will know that Jesus Christ is your Savior, and you will establish a personal relationship with your Father in Heaven. "Behold this is life eternal, that they may know Thee, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent." (John) What better way to begin to know our Father in Heaven than asking Him a question that He has promised to answer? 

I know the Book of Mormon is true because I prayed about it. As a teenager, I came to the point where I realized that if I was going to do the things I was being asked to do, I better know that the reasons for doing them were legitimate. Why would I live the standards, if they didn't truly come from God? So, I knew that if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, then the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, etc., came from God. The Bible says "By their fruits ye shall know them," and I understood that the Book of Mormon was the fruit we were given to know whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. 

I read the Book of Mormon, and when I got to 3 Nephi 17 the spirit hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew it was true right then and there. I finished the book, and then I prayed about it. 

Once again, the same feeling came back, and I knew it was true. From that time on, I made the Book of Mormon the Key Stone of my testimony. Everything I was asked to do by a servant of the Lord was true because the Book of Mormon was true. I promise you that if you make the Book of Mormon the foundation of your testimony, you will not fall. The devil will try to fell you, but if you look back on the personal witness you received, and gather your strength from that, he won't be able to knock you off your rock. 

I love you guys, and I hope you have an awesome week.


Elder Thornton

Dad and Mom, so I'm working on getting my drivers license info, its not as easy as they told you. I had to call Jefferson City. Oh well, I'll get it soon hopefully. I'm glad Sister Grosscost called you, she is one of my favorite members here. We didn't have Thanksgiving with her, but we had dinner with her a few days after thanksgiving. She is an awesome lady. We can't get hugs lol. It is against the rules no matter what age they are lol. Have a good week, I love you.