Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thirty-Eighth Letter Home 14 May 2012

Hey! How is everybody? I enjoyed talking to you yesterday, It was fun.

I took a nap this morning after insanity and studying, because I didn't sleep well last night. The insanity felt good this morning though. It shook up a lot of the congestion and got my blood circulating.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the third time on my mission the other day, and I've restarted it. I want to read it once more through before I hit my one-year mark. I have to read about six pages a day. I really love the Book of Mormon; it is filled with so much insight and pure truth. Nephi said that the prophets of the Book of Mormon would speak as ones crying from the dust, and that is true. The more I read, the more I notice the differences in the personalities of the writers, and I feel their testimonies as if they were bearing them from the pulpit in Fast and Testimony meeting.

I love Nephi because he is such a humble disciple of Jesus Christ. Nephi had an eternal perspective. He gained it through experimenting on the word of God. Because he had real intent, the Lord blessed him with spiritual experiences that increased his knowledge, and expanded his understanding of God's nature and purposes. Nephi had a desire to know, and a desire to act. Knowledge is both empowering and condemning. Knowledge expands our ability to use our agency. However, if greater light is given, more is required, which is condemning to us if we refuse to act on the witness we've received. When Nephi explained Lehi's dream to his brothers Laman and Lemuel, he taught them that if they would ask God with diligence in keeping his commandments, God would make their father's dream known unto them. Diligence in keeping the commandments is important for two reasons: One, you demonstrate real intent as you prove your willingness to follow the council the Lord gives you; two, through keeping His commandments or "experimenting on the word," you develop a relationship with God and begin to receive the many blessings associated with having a close relationship with Him (D&C 130:20-21). Laman and Lemuel would not receive an answer to their prayers as long as they intended to be disobedient to the answer they received.

But if greater knowledge can be condemning, why would we want the added responsibility? It is because knowing the "truth will set you free." Essential to Heavenly Father's plan is Agency. We fought for Agency, we rejoiced for Agency, and every battle the adversary wages against us in this life is to take our agency away from us. God calls prophets to teach his children how to expand their agency, so they can experience more joy. Missionaries go out into the world to share the glorious message of the Atonement. Why, because the Atonement lifts, empowers, fulfills, strengthens, heals, and overcomes all the negative things. The plan of happiness is a plan of liberty. We should never look at the commandments as restrictive.

I hope everyone has a really good week. I'll get my transfer call this Saturday... We'll see what happens. There is a real possibility that I will stay, and there is a good chance that I'll leave. Love ya.


Elder Thornton

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