Sunday, July 29, 2012

See Ya!

While I'm still going to be out of the MTC for about 10 days, I will be getting set apart at church today and since I doubt there will be any other occasion necessary to post to this blog, I will be turning it over to my parents later today! I love you guys! For my Utahn family and any others interested, my farewell talk has been posted below. Enjoy!

Mission Farewell Talk

Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
Today I have been asked to give a talk about the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God and its guiding hand in our lives. For me, this topic could not have come at a better time. As many of you know, I will be going into the MTC soon to serve a full time mission to Seoul South Korea.  As I will be teaching many people about God and his plan for us, the presence of the Holy Ghost and the necessity for my understanding of how this marvelous being works has never come at a more important time.  

As the only member of the God-head without a body, the Holy Ghost is unique. Lacking physicality, he has the ability to communicate with the Children of God individually, with a congregation, or with all of human kind at the same moment. As to whether the message is delivered through as small whispering voice or by a burning in the bosom this depends on the individual and circumstance. There is a quote by Joseph Fielding Smith which I believe truly encompasses the importance of the Holy Ghost’s role,
“When man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase.”
The Holy Ghost’s ability, as evidenced by President Smith, is capable of bringing so much joy and positive direction into our lives for the remarkably small price of living out lives worthily.

Now, I want to take a moment to distinguish between being worthy and being perfect. As is mentioned quite often through scripture and the teachings of modern day prophets, not a single person on this earth is perfect. As we know, the only individual who has lived to this standard of literal perfection is our brother and redeemer, Jesus Christ. Because of his perfection, we choose to model our lives after his. However, no matter how hard we try, none of us has the ability to match his purity and while this may be a little discouraging, I like to see it as an opportunity. A chance for me to look forward to the stage in my eternal progression when I will be able to become like Christ; a perfect being. While it is nice to sit and think about where I will be and my potential after I die, I first have reach the end of my life with the goal of returning to our Heavenly Father’s presence in mind. The easiest way to accomplish this, as we are taught while growing up, is by following his commandments and keeping our covenants. Doing so ensures our eventual return to his presence. The only problem is, doing these two simple things are not as easy as it may seem. That is why we attempt to remind ourselves of these commitments and promises through the use of CTR rings and pictures of Christ in our homes. While these physical possessions do a wonderful job of reminding us of our beliefs, how incredible is it that we have a small spirit that is constantly reminding us of these  things when we are about to enter a troublesome situation, when we need guidance through our challenges, and when we need confirmation of God’s love for us. I remember once when I was a kid I spent the better part of a Sunday morning putting up a pretty good fight towards my Mom because I didn’t want to wear my corduroys to church that day. I was screaming and hollering and eventually my Mom walked out of the room because one year old Brinlee still wasn’t dressed and ready to go. I remember sitting alone in my room for several minutes pouting and wallowing in my self pity when I heard someone say, “put on the corderoys”. Thinking my mom had returned and deciding I wasn’t ready to give up quite yet, I went back into tantrum mode. However, after a moment or two, it became apparent that there was not a soul around. To this day I believe it was the Holy Ghost looking out for my mother. The promptings of the Holy Ghost don’t need to evidence themselves on dramatic or profound occasions. The assistance my Mom needed that day to deal with a less than reasonable child came by the hand of the Holy Ghost whose whisperings prevented a toddler induced nervous breakdown. The influence of the Holy Ghost can and will guide you through the seemingly smallest problems. "In a 'wheat and tares' world, how unusually blessed faithful members are to have the precious and constant gift of the Holy Ghost with reminders of what is right and of the covenants we have made. 'For behold, ... the Holy Ghost ... will show unto you all things what ye should do.' (2 Nephi 32:5). Whatever the decibels of decadence, these need not overwhelm the still, small voice! Some of the best sermons we will ever hear will be thus prompted from the pulpit of memory—to an audience of one!" As Elder Maxwell emphasized in this quote, the Holy Ghost is with us always no matter the situation. In 1984 my Grandpa Frazier had an experience with the Holy Ghost that encompasses the true potential the Holy Ghost has to help us be prepared to help others. In 1984 my Grandpa was working in Salt Lake County as a sales representative for a food production company based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Whenever he needed a sample of the product, he would call in to the company who would then ship it in a cold box by Grey Hound bus. Telling my Grandma he was going to be back in time to help prepare thanksgiving dinner he headed north into Salt Lake City. While he was on the freeway, he began to picture three people; the faces of a man, a woman, and a young girl all projected into his mind. Putting the impression out of his mind for a moment as he continued on his errand, he quickly found himself seeing this family in his mind’s eye again and continued to do so as he arrived at the bus station. As he was leaving the city, having retrieved the sample, he drove past the Salt Palace, in downtown Salt Lake on his way to the highway. While he was driving past the front of the building, he saw three people standing on the sidewalk who looked oddly familiar. At the end of the block came a red light, then a green light, which was followed by a red light the time at which my Grandfather spent processing what he just saw; having recognized the three individuals on the side of the road. After several angry honks and a moment of consideration, he drove back around the block to talk to the small family. When he pulled up to the curb and asked if they had a place to eat thanksgiving dinner, the father said, they said someone would be coming. My grandpa knew, through the prompting of the spirit that this family needed a break from what had become their daily lives. After inviting them home for dinner, my grandpa found out that the father had just lost his job in Wyoming and that the small family had been thrown out of their apartment. On their way to Arizona, they had been told to wait on that corner so that, in my opinion, the Lord could use a righteous spirit to enhance their lives. The Holy Ghost has the power to fill our stomachs and lift our spirits in a very literal way.

Before I prepared this talk I don’t think I fully understood how important the influence of the Holy Ghost was in any given individual’s life and although I have been learning about the gospel for around 19 years now, something I had never really consciously thought of was how everything that God has revealed to the world in its entire existence has been made known through the confirming spirit of the Holy Ghost. All revelation would cease to exist without the Holy Ghost. When I finally sat down and considered the things that have been made known to man by the power of the Holy Ghost, I couldn’t believe it. In Moses chapter 1, Moses speaks with God on the top of a mountain about many things but at one point in their discussion Moses has a vision during which he “beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.” By this Holy Ghost, Moses was able to see every inhabitant of the earth in every period of time.  This revelation and many others in more recent years are all delivered by the power of the Holy Ghost. It’s amazing to me that with all the power and insight the Holy Ghost has access to, I have, in the past, let myself become even slightly out of tune with him. The Holy Ghost’s council is something that we would be very lost without. While keeping this in mind, why do we let ourselves stray from the influence of a being that delivers God’s will?

As I said before, the companionship of the Holy Ghost is crucial for any success in the mission field. As I have been preparing for my mission, I have been told on several occasions that I will not convert anyone. Not because of any personal flaws or inadequacies but due to the fact that true testimony of this gospel is only received through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
President Brigham Young once expressed:

“When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminate[d] my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality [were] before me.”

Brothers and sisters, I pray every single day as I prepare myself to enter into my mission field to share this remarkable word of God with my fellow man; that the people of Seoul will be able to see through my sad attempt at their language and into my heart so that they may be able to witness, just as President Young did by the absolute power of the Holy Ghost, that this gospel is true. That the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That the Prophet Joseph Smith died for nothing but the pure word of God. That our church leaders receive daily, modern, revelation for the furthering of God’s work on this Earth and for the enrichment of our lives. And that we, as children of God, should seek daily for the inspiration of the Holy Ghost so that through us, he may bring others closer to our Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.