I would like to welcome Bradyn Jorgensen home from serving a full-time mission in the Raleigh North Carolina mission. Bradyn gave a great report to the Mount Pleasant fourth ward. What a great missionary Bradyn was. I’m excited to watch him continue to progress. I’m absolutely certain that Bradyn’s life will be full of happiness and joy. I would also like to congratulate Ryker Erickson and Jentry Ison for their mission calls. They will have an opportunity to experience the same growth that Bradyn has experienced over the past two years.
The theme for July is Freedom. I love the historical events of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Each of the founding fathers that signed that document were guilty of treason to the British Empire. The founding fathers were all in, if the revolutionary war had been lost, each person that signed the Declaration of Independence would have been put to death by the most powerful country in the world. I’m grateful for all the people throughout the history of our country that have pursued and protected the idea of Freedom.
I’m grateful for the scriptural accounts of the pre-existence. We know that there was a war in heaven that was based on the idea of free agency. Satan was a proponent of eliminating choice. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knew that we have to have free agency or else we cannot learn, develop, and grow. We all supported this idea in the pre-existence and we can all recognize how important it is now to be able to choose.
I was teasing one of my kids this week that I love being a parent but I would love it even more if I could make their choices for them. This obviously would not work. There are plenty of times where I council with my kids and they make a decision that is different than I would have made. Sometimes they learn that my advice would have protected them from a bad decision. Sometimes, I learn that I was giving bad advice. Either way, everyone involved has an opportunity to learn and to grow because of agency.
The ultimate freedom is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through the atonement, we are able to learn from our mistakes. We are able to make bad decisions, learn, and then make better decisions the next time. This is how we progress eternally until eventually we become like our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the atonement, I’m grateful for Jesus Christ for making the sacrifice for me and my family. I’m looking forward to the sacrament meetings in July. I look forward to continuing to serve with each of you.