Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Greatest Generation of Missionaries

With a recent change in missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the question has been asked "why now?"
On October 6, 2012 President Thomas S. Monson made this announcement:

Announcement made at (4:26)

Millions of members of the LDS church crazed over this new announcement, with thousands creating Memes and facebook posts about it.  18 year old men and 19 year old women can now serve missions?!!  That is awesome!!  But why the change?  And why now?

As a teacher at the Missionary Training Center I was able to receive some insight on this topic.

Let us first look at the history of missionary work that has happened over the past decade.

History
2002 - "Raise the Bar"
In Elder Ballard's renowned talk "The Greatest Generation of Missionaries" he boldly asserts to "our young brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood, to rise up, to measure up, and to be fully prepared to serve the Lord."

2004 - Preach My Gospel comes out
Interestingly enough there is a 2 YEAR gap (time a full-time Elder spends on his mission) from the last big change.  This was a period of "cleansing" where the young future missionaries were now becoming more prepared to reach the bar.  The standards were the same; however, the future missionaries were becoming more clean and more pure for the Lord's work.
Elder Richard G. Scott said "the greatest benefit of Preach My Gospel will be seen in the lives of the returned missionaries, who will be stronger parents, more able Church leaders, and better professionals because of the growth that comes from understanding and applying its inspired content."

2010 - The Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel
Some of you who have been off your mission for more than 2 years are probably thinking "What is this?"  As Richard Heaton put it, "the fundamentals are one of the biggest changes in missionary work in this dispensation."  The fundamentals of PMG  include 8 fundamentals designed to help missionaries gain the sight of PMG.  At this time, these fundamentals were implemented into the mission field to guide the missionaries in teaching more effectively.
The fundamentals are as follows:
- The Doctrine of Christ: The Missionary Purpose

- The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion

- Revelation through Prayer

- Revelation through the Book of Mormon

- Revelation through Church Attendance

- Teach People, Not Lessons

- We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up

- How To Begin Teaching

2011 - The Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel come to the MTC










2012 - 18 year old Elders and 19 year old sisters can now serve.

** Now here's the rub... that was not the big announcement.  Reflect back to the announcement of a NEW CURRICULUM for Sunday School, Young Women classes, and Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

As Elder Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School General President, put it "(The Savior) showed us not only what to teach, but also how to teach . . . conversion is the goal of all gospel learning and teaching. Conversion is not a onetime event. It is a lifelong quest to become more like the Savior."
As you look at this new curriculum it looks exactly like what you would see in Mission Prep... coincidence?  I think not... these principles contained in the new curriculum and mission preparation are key in conversion.
Let us look at this New Curriculum, shall we?

THE PURPOSE OF A TEACHER:
The First Presidency has declared that teachers are called to "help [youth] become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Returned Missionaries... does this sound similar to a particular "missionary purpose" which is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End."
The purpose continues by stating . . . "the path to conversion is a personal one.  Conversion does not happen in a meeting, class, or activity alone.  Ultimately, youth are converted by diligently living the gospel each day - praying, studying the scriptures, keeping commandments, fulfilling priesthood and other duties, attending the temple, serving their families and others, and sharing the gospel.  As they do these things, their desires, attitudes, and actions begin to align with Heavenly Father's will.  They become happy and confident, and they delight "to act . . . and not be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26).  They strive to obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost, resist temptation, and "do many [good] things of their own free will" (D&C 58:27).  They become "saint[s] through the atonement of Christ" (Mosiah 3:19).
All of us are converted as we learn to walk the gospel path for ourselves.  In your role, the way you befriend, encourage, and support youth in their personal spiritual devotion, and the way you teach and learn with them in both formal and informal settings, will help them stay on the path and progress toward personal, lifelong conversion."

Check out this video to get a better idea for this new curriculum "Teach in the Savior's way."





As we look at another video we can see just a glimpse at what this new curriculum is designed to do.  Is it ANOTHER coincidence that this new curriculum and missionary announcement came 2 YEARS after the fundamentals were announced? NO.  It is now the responsibility of the generation of Returned Missionaries that had the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel to effect the next generation.



So why cut the MTC experience by 1/3? (To take place starting in January 2013)... because the Greatest Generation of Missionaries are coming.  With the new curriculum they will be more prepared, more converted, and have the Doctrine of Christ more firm in their souls when they enter into the MTC.  Is it a coincidence that a lot of conference talked about testimony and conversion?  Again it is a simple NO.  We must BECOME more CONVERTED to the gospel and hasten the work of the Lord!
In his last words in the Priesthood Session, President Monson so declared that we "must fulfill our mandate to share the gospel.  The responsibility is upon us."  And might I add... the responsibility is upon us to help others become CONVERTED.



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ian Kyger: 6 Month Tribute

This is Ian Kyger:

video

At 19 years old he decided to meet with the LDS Missionaries.  All his life he made fun of Mormons even though he had friends that were members of the LDS church.  The first time he met with us he just wanted to Bible Bash.  He had no real intentions of wanting to know the truth at that time.  He brought his missionary friend from his church and an entire BINDER full of anti-Mormon literature. Intellectually we would lose this battle if we tried to "Bash."   I was a new Senior Companion and had only been out about 7 months; my companion was only out about 4 months.  



We didn't know the Bible nearly as well as he did.  But a testimony does not come from intellectually convincing someone or "Bible Bashing."  In fact, we didn't read a single scripture because the Spirit directed us otherwise.  Instead, we testified and brought all his branch questions back to roots of a testimony. Which is, if the Book of Mormon is true then “Jesus is the Christ; Joseph Smith is the prophet, seer, and revelator in these last days; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is the Lord's Kingdom once again established on the Earth today preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.”  

We committed Ian Kyger to read the Book of Mormon... all research aside.  He said he would contact us if he wanted to meet again which most returned missionaries can attest that that usually means they won't ever contact the missionaries.  Months later everything was falling through.  The week was hard, but at the end of the night I prayed and specifically asked God for a miracle.  Not even 10 minutes later we got a call... from Ian Kyger.  

He wanted to meet with us the next day.  To make a long story short... he started to go to Young Single Adult activities and Institute... and most importantly he started gaining "real intent."  He was almost disowned by his family and kicked out of his house.  He lost many friends.

He was not only baptized...


but Ian Kyger is now Elder Kyger serving in the Colorado Denver North Mission.


What are you willing to sacrifice to come closer to God?  How do you remain a disciple of Christ when you are hated and persecuted by others?


Ian Kyger began serving his mission on November 16th.  Here's to over 6 months of service!




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Hope They Call Me On A Mission


So I have this really awesome nephew... his name is Jayden... and he is 6 years old.

I never fully realized the impact I had in his life as "Uncle Chad" until experiences that have happened lately.


It started with the experience of helping him to try new things like wheat bread.  He said, "I don't like it."  I said, "You've never tried it."  He said, "It's gross."  I said, "I eat wheat bread, and that's how I got my mus-culls (as I flex)."  Now I don't have very big muscles but to a small 6 year old boy the little definition that I do have made his eyes light up real big.  Ever since then he ALWAYS wants a PB&J with what?... you guessed it... WHEAT bread!

Now this was only the beginning... It turned into something much greater.
One day we were driving in my car, just Jayden and I.  I think it was the day I picked him up for preschool.  I taught him to sing the song, "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission"... which he now loves to sing with me.

My fiance, Ally Best, and I sang some hymns with him and his little sister Kaylie Jo the other day and he had so much fun singing "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission"... in addition to beat boxing (another thing I taught him) while I sang that song as well.  He is the greatest little kid.


But here's the real miracle.  Every day since I have been back from my mission I have read the Book of Mormon with Ally Best.  Yesterday, Jayden saw his uncle and future aunt about to read in the scriptures and do you know what he said, "Can I read too?"  Of course we had him read with us!  I don't think he wanted to stop.  When we finally did he said, "Ok.  I remember where we stopped so we can read here tomorrow!"  The next day came and not only did Jayden come up to Ally and I and say, "Chad, can we read the scriptures?"... but his little sister Kaylie Jo wanted to have "Aunt Ally" help her to read a verse too.  I have never seen them as well behaved as they were when reading the Book of Mormon with us.  Though they may not have understood anything that was going on... the Spirit of God was there... and though they may not know what it was... Jayden and Kaylie Jo could feel it!





Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being Unforgiving Will KILL You!

Forgiveness... hmmm.... we always hear "Forgive one another..."

Does that mean... forgive everyone except that one person that offended you?... or perhaps... forgive that person for everything they have done... umm... except for.... well you know... that one thing that he did...  now that's too difficult.

You know maybe it's... forgive them... once they have changed... when they have moved on... I will forgive them for now... but they still haven't changed... so I won't REALLY forgive them... only kind of.

NO!!!  "Being unforgiving will kill you!!... literally..."

Who are you ultimately hurting when you don't forgive?... only yourself.

“Forgiving is a gift you give yourself.”

Forgiveness may be defined as 'the choice to no longer allow the memory of abuse to abuse.'

We cannot get angry at those that have offended us.

  • Anger is a choice... choose to turn it OFF...
  • VENTING doesn't work... to bring up those harsh feelings only ''breeds'' more anger.
  • SUPPRESSING anger doesn't work either... it just builds up and explodes!!...
  • We must PROCESS IT!... think it through

Our Primary Emotions are:
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Lowered Self-Esteem
  • Hurt Feelings
This is what we are actually feeling when we 'get angry'... this is at the root of our emotional state.
Anger is a SECONDARY emotion

‎"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." - Psalms 119:165

Emotions are choices we make... choose not to be angry... choose to Forgive.

Do not re-open wounds that have already been healed by our Savior.

"School Thy Feelings" - Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To all you Valentine's HATERS

What has happened to Valentine's Day?

I have heard countless numbers of single people say how much they HATE Valentine's Day. I thought if their was a holiday for single people that maybe non-single people would think the same thing... but then again maybe not.

This is a day of love... but is it really JUST for those with a significant other? I think not. My whole life I remember getting something on Valentine's Day from my Mom... because she LOVES her children. This is a day of love for your mom... your dad... your family... etc. 
I LOVE MY FAMILY!
So what are you really saying if you hate Valentine's Day?

Yes I did have a great Valentine's Day!... and some of you may be thinking “that's only because you had a significant other to spend it with.” 
That may be a big part of why my day was great; however, it was also a day to reflect on how much I love my friends and family.

And I saw a car with a mustache... yes a MUSTACHE!!... 

On top of that there was some great music on the radio... for the most part. They played some of the old classics by Phil Collins and Billy Joel. I don't think you can get much better than that! I'm sorry but Justin Beiber just won't cut it with his “oh baby baby...”

Dr. Jason Carroll, who teaches at BYU, says to beware of counterfeit sources of self-worth. Remove them from your life. Examples of these are money, physical appearance, and relationship status. When people get up in the morning, what if they prayed and reflected on their divine worth as a child of God... instead of spending hours in front of the mirror thinking, 'I am my body'? Your self-worth is not determined by your physical appearance. In addition, it is also NOT determined by you relationship status. Just remember that God's LOVE is unconditional.  



Remember the words of Moroni who said, "Charity is the pure LOVE of Christ"... or the Apostle Paul who said, "Charity never faileth."


Saturday, February 11, 2012

My New Friend "Rose"


So... this is kind of a funny story...
I went with my brother-in-law, Tyler, to drop him off at UVU.  Now usually on Tuesday's I take my sister's car to go pick up Ally Best... and then Ally and I go to our class at BYU.  Tyler's car exploded so it's a little more difficult for me to get to school now.  I was very grateful this day that I was able to use my sister Melissa's car.  
This isn't there car... and actually that isn't their awesome child either ...  that is Jayden our nephew.
This is kind of like their car... except it has been hit a lot...
Anyway... on to the real point of this story.  I was a little early picking up Ally.  It seems that every time I am early someone needs my help.  The last time a guy came up to me and needed help jumping his car... so of course I helped.  This day was a little different though...

(Think of the tune from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-air")

Now this is the story all about how
My day got flipped, turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
I'll  tell you all about a crazy lady who wasn't all there

In west American Fork I was born and raised
School and workin' is where I spend most of my days
Chillin' out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all sittin' in the car outside UVU
When a crazy homeless lady, she was approachin' my hood
Needed a lift to Little Ceasers, seein' if I could
I thought of killer hitchhikers and I was scared
I said, "Hop in and I'll take you all the way up there!"

I hoped I wouldn't get stabbed, a judgemental fear
Told me of her "tests" while I adjusted the car mirror
If anything I could say this lady was weird
But I thought really?, judging others, yo Chad you should care

I pulled up to the place about 3:38
And I said to the lady "Yo, Rose see you later!"
Thought of God's Kingdom, and said a quick prayer
Can't be judgin' others and expect to get there

So I learned a lot from this experience.  Though I was late picking up Ally... and we were late to class... Rose needed my help...
"Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doctrine according to C. Johnson - MEDIA



Isn't the power of the media amazing?
No really... it is.
Just think about it.  Let's think of some examples:
You can quote almost every part of your favorite movie... probably a chick flick if you're a girl and an action film if your a guy.
When your favorite song come on the radio you can't help but sing it out loud... unless of course there are other people in the car... because then you don't want to look "weird"... or maybe your friends are like you and love the same song, so you all sing it REALLY loud together!


My point is that media can be engraved into our minds... for good... or bad.
The other day my dad was asked by my nephew to help him beat the last level on Super Mario Bros. on Super Nintendo.  I told my dad, with specific detail, exactly how to do it... and guess what?  I probably haven't played that game in 10 years!  Oh and that same day I heard a song... it's a pretty fast song... and I sang every single lyric to the tee.  I hadn't heard that song in years as well.

So do you see my point?  Media can have a lasting impression on our minds and our souls.
I am not saying that all media is bad.  A lot of media can be very uplifting and inspiring... but then there is media that, dare I say, "could blast a crater in their minds forever." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

When many people make the judgements of what movies to see, music to listen too, or video games to play, many think that "bad" is ONLY that which deals with sex and pornography.  While this is a major thing to look for, let me remind you of a few commandments.

"Sex outside of marriage is a serious sin.  In fact, Alma taught that it was among the most grievous of sins.  But what did Alma rank as the two most serious sins?  Denying the Holy Ghost and 'shedding... innocent blood,' or committing murder." (Alma 39:5-6)


So let us take a look at these commandments in comparison to media today.
1) Denying the Holy Ghost
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Now most of us don't really have to worry about this since we haven't "seen" God... so we don't have a perfect knowledge of Him; however, there can be small instances where we may not deny but are putting aside the Holy Ghost.  You know... like when you choose to go somewhere or do something that you KNOW will not have the influence of the Holy Spirit.
With media think for example... Does this contain vulgar language, gore and excessive violence, darkness, evil spirits, etc?
Just remember... "Wherefore, all things which are good, cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually." (Moroni 7:12)
Does this invite evil?  to fight against God? Does this media "scare", "disturb", or "offend" the Spirit of God?

2) Murder
Blood, gore, death, etc.  Similar questions should be asked here.  Yes I do know that the Book of Mormon talks about a man cutting off arms to DEFEND himself... and countless others who fought out of DEFENSE.  Every situation is different.  Many courageous men and women are fighting for our country right now.  However... do we need to introduce into our minds the kinds of images that others HAVE had too because they were fighting "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."  We must be careful what we let into the stage of our minds.  Let us not justify ourselves in committing a little sin.

3) Breaking the Law of Chastity
Pornography, explicit images, crude and other inappropriate language... you know what's "bad."  I don't have to tell you.

Ultimately... YOU are the judge... and a big part of life is learning for ourself.  But let us also remember that we don't always have to learn by making the mistake first.  We don't want to regret the decision we made.  If you have to question whether or not you should have certain media in your life... is it really worth taking the risk?... Is some short term gratification really worth corrupting your mind and soul?... and compromising your salvation?


Let us not give up our "birthright" in exchange for some "pottage."

Pray about it...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inception


CLICK "Play" before reading

"Some of the greatest battles we will face will be fought within the silent chambers of our own souls." 
- Ezra Taft Benson


We must PROTECT OURSELVES from outside influences that will creep their way into our minds.  Let us look at how this works... We will build a "dream."

THE ARCHITECT is us... what we perceive is created from our own experiences.


Though we may have friends that can influence us for good or for evil... it is ultimately up to us what decisions we will make in life.

"O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe." (2 Nephi 1:13)


Our "chains" of sin can bind us... and drag us down into a deep sleep.  This DEEP SLEEP creates a mist of darkness which only gets darker the deeper we are in our sleep.  Just like the movie Inception, we lose perception of what is real.  Or in the case of sin, we lose sight of the glory of God.  When we don't repent we create more LEVELS of sin and make it harder to get out.


How will we escape?!


We need A KICK... also known as a humbling experience.

"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe." (Alma 32:16)



I don't know about you but I would rather "kick myself" (humble myself) then be "compelled" to be kicked in the face with soccer cleats or track spikes.
So... how about we be humble?

Oh no!... It seems we have something unexpected raging right towards us...

Do you ever find TRAINS come in or back into your life?  Is there a grudge you are holding onto?  Someone you need to forgive?  Something that is wracking your soul with eternal torment?  It sounds like there is a definite need for the Atonement of Christ.  If a wound has been healed by Christ we should NEVER re-open that which has already been healed by Him.  Get rid of the train!  It not only will hurt you but those around you as well!


It may even be necessary to DREAM BIG and get ourselves some heavy artillery in order to fully "repent" and get out.


At times we may find ourselves in a PARADIGM.  It's like walking up a down escalator at the same force it is pushing us down. We are not digressing but we are not progressing either.  The sins of omission vs. commission.  We may not be doing anything wrong... but we aren't doing anything right.


In order for one to "awake" they must be killed.  This being symbolic to the Atonement of Christ... a price had to be paid for us "falling" short.  This "awaking" may cause pain... and repentance can be difficult if we get to deep in our sins/ dreams.  However... Christ will heal our wounds and give us comfort.

INCEPTION... is it possible?  Some say no.  Is it really possible to "plant" something in someone's mind and change there entire lives?!  What do you think?  
If we FORCE it upon someone else... it is rejected and it will NOT work. 


"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27)


If we let the Spirit soften our heart and plant/ develop a seed of Faith... even a desire... on our own free will, then it WILL work.  We need to give place for Christ to come into our lives.
Inception can happen and it will change the whole course of our lives.  Then we can RETURN HOME to live with our Heavenly Father!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Removing The Wedges From Our Souls



We all have a desire in us to do good.
We do the right things for the right reason... and sometimes we even do the right thing for the wrong reason like “I need to provide for my family (right thing)

... so instead of getting a job... I am going to steal (wrong reason).”
or even “Hey I want all of God's children to be saved (right thing)... but I'm going to force them all to do what's right... they will have no freedom to choose for themselves and 'I' will receive all the glory (wrong reason)”... and then there are those who do the wrong thing for the right reason. They have a Christlike desire to do good; however, their actions do not coincide with His teachings. For example, We may have a friend who is making choices that aren't really bringing them closer to God we will say. Their choice of friends... well... they're not great either. We have the “desire to do good” and help our friend, so we decide to hang out with THEIR group of friends and try to influence them for good. We may have a “desire to do good” but our “erroneous actions” don't line up with our “desire to do good.” From that one “small and simple” choice... “great things” will be brought to pass. Our “good influence” will be drowned out by their bad influences. 

The path we were once on will no longer be clear but “clouded by the mists of darkness.” The world will blind us and we will lose our way. 

It starts out like a wedge... slowly squeezing it's way into our souls. 

That blindness leads to breaking the commandments whether big or small... and opens the gates to Hell. We lose the Spirit of the Lord... because “the Spirit cannot dwell in unclean temples.” Righteous people may try to help give us direction and help us correct our wrong choices... but because we lack the Spirit and have hardened our hearts... we take offense. We do exactly as Jacob (Book of Mormon Prophet) warns us against and we let the “pride of our hearts destroy our souls.” We think to ourselves... “I am right... but If I am right then they (righteous people) have to be wrong.” We begin to attack everything about that person and what they represent. We forget our multiple witnesses that we received from our Supreme Creator, our Father in Heaven. This will eventually lead the to ultimate destruction of our souls... spiritual death.

We need the Atonement, the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We alone are indebted unto God... we sin and fall short of the glory of God... and Jesus Christ has made it possible, through His sacrifice, that our shortcoming will be made up for... we can be cleansed... and return to live with God.