Monday, January 19, 2009

The Gospel of Jesus Christ- 100th Post

I initially thought I would write Everlasting Burnings, but now is not the time. I may come back to that in the future as I have time to evaluate and so on. But to commemorate my 100th post, I decided to do something a bit different. I want to talk about my history with becoming a missionary. So basically, I guess I want to tell my conversion story.

I grew up in a very Mormon area in Salt Lake. I didn't really know much else outside of Mormonism or my community's cultural outlook. The youngest of seven siblings, I saw my siblings as they served missions, left the Church, experienced personal and familial difficulties, and prayed for relief. I didn't really know how I fit into my family. I felt somewhat lost as to my purpose. I remember hearing my mother say that they had prayed for a long time for me. I couldn't imagine why anyone would really want me. I didn't feel particularly special or particularly important. I didn't feel talented or needed, in reality. I remember as a child my desire to serve a mission seemed distant, at best, although I always said I would serve in China.

I was a precocious, rude, weepy, and somewhat annoying youth, but always tried to remember the teachings of Jesus. I didn't read scriptures like I should until I was 17. I fell into the follies of youth at a young age until many spiritual experiences prompted me to change my life. I abandoned a life where I was very unhappy for a life where I felt happy. Most would quote social pressure or societal expectations, but I don't really think that was the case. It was the Spirit that brought me back. The Spirit testified of an everlasting Gospel, simple, as presented in 3rd Nephi 27- the atonement of Jesus Christ, baptism, repentance, enduring to the end, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life. All else is dependent upon this. So when I face myself with theological quandaries- such as Adam-God, the Church's position on Proposition 8, blacks and the priesthood- I have learned that if it is not pertaining to Christ's Gospel, it is an irrelevant. Is it still difficult? Yes. Is it relevant to my salvation? No. What is relevant to my salvation is my obedience to the Gospel.

So now, here I am, 19 and finishing up my papers for a mission. I often wonder why I am serving a mission. I have discovered that I am not serving a mission because it is the social/societal "norm". I am not serving because I am particularly talented. I am serving because I love people. I love the Gospel. The Gospel is found within the framework of a Church. A human Church that is trying to connect with the Divine. I may disagree with some Church stances, but that does not change the basic framework of the Gospel. The Church administers the Gospel and I am going on a mission to proclaim a Gospel message of peace and love. I call people to Christ.

It is going to be hard. I am somewhat naive hoping for easy days. But I know it will be hard. I am praying for understanding as to where I go. I have some indications from the Spirit, but only time will truly tell. I am prepared, however, to share the Gospel.

I am ready to tell people about a carpenter in Galilee who was more than just an ordinary man. I am prepared to tell them about how he suffered in a garden and on a cross that He might draw all men to Him through His everlasting mercy. And to tell the world of the friend we find in Him. He will succor us in our most challenging moments and smile with us as we experience exquisite joy. This I know.

And that's the best news of all.


PolarBeccaBear said...

Flippin' sweet.
I'll be honest.
Missionaries are the shiz.
You get a million points for rocking at life.

I'm so glad you're doing this.
So glad.

This is me, dancing like a freak, because I'm so glad. =]

I really hope that you serve an amazing mission.
I mean, it's going to suck, obviously, but it's going to be the most amazingly spiritual suckage ever.

I just got baptized in October of last year.
If I hadn't had my missionaries to bug with constant questions, I probably wouldn't have learned anything in regards to my spiritual growth.
I mean, I had a thing for learning about the doctrine, but I never prayed about it until they told me to... I don't even know why I listened, haha.

But yeah.
Even if you don't baptize anyone, you'll totally effect lives.


Ok. I'm ending my random supportive post.

OH. I don't know how I found you on here.
I just did. Haha. =]

Janessa said...

This post makes me love you even more Jacob. Maybe it's the fact that I can easily relate to your story that leaves me wondering where I am supposed to be but for the sake of letting life unfold for itself, I guess I'm right where I'm supposed to be.

As always, keep writing because I love reading it!

Catherine Agnes said...

An excellent 100th post. You will make a great missionary and I expect and hope that serving a mission will be a very positive experience for you.

Also, I love your new comments name--here's another cup of love. :-)

Madd Town said...

Oh Jacob, you have no idea how much I needed to read this today. Your strength and testimony bouyed me up when I was near emotional exhaustion, so thank you! But more than that, I am so unspeakably proud of and happy for you and that you chose to serve a mission, and most of all for coming to that decision to yourself through prayer and pondering. You will be a fabulous missionary, because you are already such a wonderful inspiration to those around you. There is a reason you got a standing ovation at graduation. :)
Missing you ever the more-