Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thirty-Second Letter Home 02 April 2012

What's up?

It sounds like everyone really enjoyed General Conference. I love Conference. Yuki, our recent convert watched it in Japanese online. We watched one Saturday session with our investigator family; and Sister Hampton, who I've been trying to get to come to Church for 10 weeks, came to the Sunday afternoon session. Clara, our "German grandma" lady watched Sunday morning's session of Conference. Ha-ha, I love conference because the talks our investigators heard where exactly what they all needed. It worked out perfectly.

The Apostles and Prophet re-iterated principles we taught our investigators last week. It was cool for me personally, because things that I've studied and promptings that I've received from the Holy Ghost were re-iterated and confirmed by the Lord's chosen servants. Many of the talks were exactly what our Ward and Stake leaders needed to hear also. I took good notes, and this morning as part of my study, I reviewed them. Then, I read out of the Book of Mormon.

The Holy Ghost, through the Book of Mormon, once again confirmed the words of the Lord's servants to me. I have so much fun studying with the Holy Ghost. He is always teaching me cool things, and the best is when he teaches me things that I get to use that day to help explain the gospel to someone.

Many of the talks focused on the importance of being converted to the Gospel, and having an eternal perspective, or vision. As a missionary I've noticed that many members of the church don't know what the Gospel is, and as a result get caught up in "club Mormon," missing the point of why the Church was restored in the first place.

The Gospel, as defined in 2 Nephi 31, and 3 Nephi 11, is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Everything else we do in the Church should support these five principles and ordinances. Christ's gospel is so simple that a child can understand it, yet so complex and perfect, that it takes a life time to master it. For investigators, it unlocks the full power of Christ's atonement in their favor. For members of Christ's Church, it renews the solid ground beneath our feet, keeping us on the rock of salvation. Baptism is the only ordinance we continue to renew for ourselves, through partaking of the Sacrament. Other ordinances are done by proxy, in the behalf of others.

In 3 Nephi 18:6-7,10-12 Christ says that by partaking of the Sacrament, we are securing our place on the rock. Helaman 5:12 tells why we want to hang out on that particular rock. Understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us an eternal perspective. It gives us hope, and that hope is re-inforced by Heavenly Father's blessings to us. These principles, are the center of the plan of salvation, the plan for happiness. Christ is our benefactor, He paid for us in blood. D&C 19 captures what that entailed. If we don't want to suffer as He did, we have to accept his Gospel. If we don't want other people to suffer that agony, we need to share his Gospel. "A religion that doesn't require a sacrifice from it's members, will never have the authority, or power to live with God." It is through applying the principles of the Gospel in our lives, that we make that sacrifice, and choose to follow our Savior. This Saturday is transfers... we'll see what happens. I'll let you know on Monday.

Elder Thornton

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