Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why, Johnny Ringo...

you look like someone just walked over your grave..

Classic quote. Turns out Elder Bonnet and his family are huge Tombstone fans, so when he heard that my Mom wrote a book about Doc Holliday, he got excited and said he would tell his dad to by a copy of it. So there you go, Mom, yet another small plug for the book.

This week was a great week. Elder Bonnet prays like it all depends on God, and works like it all depends on Him. He's got a lot of faith, and we've seen the miracles. We have a lot of people to teach right now, including an awesome family that we're going to teach tonight. The weather has indeed been much more bearable here, although still pretty caliente. But I'm happy and the mission's great.

Mom, I apreciate your thoughts about astonishment in the Book of Mormon. Great minds think alike, because I too always enjoy focusing on just what they were getting astonished about. On a similar note, the Bible is also replete with examples of astonishment, espcecially in the Gospels and Acts. At first glance, you would think that everyone was blown away by all of the miracles that Jesus did (which they were), but there was something that caused an even more profound effect in the hearts of the people he taught. Luke explained that "they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power" (Luke 4:32).  Jesus taught as one having authority, not as the scribes did (Matthew 7:29). His doctrine was astonishing, it fulfilled the Law of Moses and gave people a completely new vision of life, of God, and of themselves. He doctrine taught that all of the Law and the Prophets hinged upon two great commandments: Love God and love neighbor. Truly, his doctrine, in addition to his infinite and priceless atonement, is what changed the world, and that for which He will always be remembered. Yes, Jesus performed many miracles, but he himself explained that those miracles were often the natrual result of faith in Him and His teachings, and in other instances only a means by which people might find their faith. He said, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him" (John 10:37-38).

For a time, it would seem as Jesus gave people unspoken permission to "see to believe," even as Philip proclaimed, "Come and see!" (John 1:46). However, Jesus would not always be with us. And although miracles would always be wrought in His name by his true followers, it was to be understood that faith would always precede the miracle and that believing would always be better than seeing. Jesus said to the doubter, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this, as this is just coming off the top of my head. But I guess my point is that as long as the world exists, and we exist in it, we are to walk by faith. God has given us His son, and the Doctrine of Christ, so that we, by our faith, may return to live with him.

Every time I study the doctrine of Christ, I am astonished, both by the tragic beauty of His example and sacrifice, as well as the pureness and clarity of His teachings. I am more astonished by the effect it produces in my own life. As Boyd K. Packer said, "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."

I am also astonished by the Restoration of the Gospel throught the prophet Joseph Smith, because of which we have such true and pure doctrine today.

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ on Earth today, and I'm so grateful to be a member of it, and a representative of Jesus Christ during this time. I know He is our Savior, and our Redeemer. I hope you all have a great week!

Much love,
Elder Wilcox

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