Bishopric – Freedom

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.

                                Bishop Applegarth

Freedom From Mistakes

I had an experience on my mission that I will never forget.  I was in the city of Dandenong, Australia. It was a cold and rainy day.  We had tracted all day and had not found much success so we looked forward to our dinner of fish and chips; they taste soBegging good in Australia.  We bought our meal wrapped in brown paper and went to sit down on a bench.  The warmth of the food and the smell made our mouth water with anticipation. Just as we were ready to eat a homeless man, smelling of alcohol and looking very hungry, came over to ask for money for food.  We had spent all of our money and told him so.  We also judged him as one who would spend the money for alcohol so we really did not want to give him any money even if we had any.  He left in a hurry looking embarrassed.  As we sat there, we both realized we could have given him our food!  We did not feel like eating our dinner after this and we got up and looked for him to give him our food.  But he was nowhere to be found.  I thought of the scripture that said people “entertain angels unawares” and felt we had been tested to see if we were truly the Lord’s disciples. As we went to people’s homes that night to teach them about the gospel, we did not feel like His representatives at all.  I will never forget the heart-felt prayers I said that night asking for forgiveness.  I vowed that night that if anyone ever asked me for money for food, I would give them food.  I was grateful for the experience I had a year later when I was visiting San Francisco with friends. A homeless man came BeggingAppleup to me, again smelling of alcohol, and asked for spare change for food.  I did not hesitate at all, even with his alcohol smell, but I immediately jumped at the chance to help him – I think this startled him. We went to a local convenience store and I bought him an apple and some cheese.  He was thankful for the food.  I was grateful for this opportunity to be free of the guilt I felt for that mistake I had made in Australia as a missionary.  Repentance is a great blessing and I am thankful for the gospel, which helps me to be free from the guilt that comes from making mistakes.

Sara Staker

Elder’s Corner – Freedom In The Scriptures

On July 4th 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. It only took him 17 days to write it. After years of war, bloodshed, and suffering, the Constitution was signed in 1787. With God’s help, America was now in charge of her own destiny and with it, the conditions perfect for the restoration of the Gospel (3 Nephi 21:4).

This was all foreseen by our prophets. We read in 1st Nephi 13 about ColumbusShips (1 Nephi 13:12), and the Pilgrims (1 Nephi 13:13-15) and how the English came to war with our Founding Fathers (1 Nephi 13:17) and how the Revolutionaries prevailed against them with the Lords help because of their humbleness and righteousness (1 Nephi 13:16). We also learn from Christ Himself that the creation of the Constitution was His doing (D&C 101:80) and that our Founding Fathers were hand selected by Him to fulfill this purpose. In 1833, the Lord again reminds us that He wanted us to have the Constitution (D&C 98:5-6), but added a warning for us (D&C 98:9-10).

This is a free land that comes with a stipulation, serve the Lord or be swept away (Ether 2:9). It also states that our righteousness determines whether we are blessed or cursed by living in it (2 Nephi 1:7). We learn that two previous civilizations (Nephites/Jaredites) have both been swept off for choosing incorrectly (Ether 2:12).

Are we choosing correctly? As a church we are under condemnation for unbelief, treating lightly the Book of Mormon, and vanity (D&C 84:54-57). We also read that the Lord admonished the early Saints on this as well (D&C 98:19-20). This condemnation has not been lifted. Joseph Smith and Pres Benson have called the Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion. A keystone is the center piece at the top of a stone arch, and without it, the arch cannot support itself and will crumble. Pres Benson also stated that “God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time” (see also 2 Nephi 3:12).

ConFlagWe have been warned to protect our freedoms, and how they are slowly being eroded by modern day secret combinations (Ether 8:23-26) just as found in all of the Book of Mormon civilizations. Note that verse 24 indicates a commandment from the Lord to awaken and repent if we are allowing them to exist by our supporting them. Our church leaders were once extremely vocal about warning the Saints to support the principles found in our Constitution. Have they been silenced as Mormon was (Mormon 1:16-17) or as Samuel was (1 Samuel 8) for the Saints not heeding their words? Reading page 36 of the July 2017 Ensign should give you the answer. Every single one of our prophets has paid homage to the Constitution, in conference talks, symposiums, even in Temple dedications. David O McKay once declared, “Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States”.

Are we acting in accordance with the direction of the Lords prophets when it comes to the topic of freedom? We chose correctly in our first estate….will we continue to make the right choice in our second?

Anyone interested in additional quotes or reading material (all church related) please contact anyone in the Elders Quorum presidency.

President Crisp

Elder Applegarth – July 2017

Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Sierra Leone Freetown

Spencer has had a bit of a rough month physically.  He has been somewhat sick because of some African bugs.  He also has a kidney stone that he is passing.  So he has gotten a chance to explore the African medical community.  Spencer reports that going to the doctor in Africa is a bit of an adventure.  The medical clinics aren’t as clean as we enjoy and instead of an exam room for just one person, there is an exam room for 100 people.  However, all in all Spencer is grateful for the doctors that have treated him and he reports that he is feeling much better.

Spencer is really enjoying the people of Sierra Leone.  They are always kind to him and they are eager to learn about the gospel.  Last week, he had 7 investigators that came to church.  The local branch is kind and loving to everyone, so Spencer’s investigators were welcomed with big smiles and open arms.  Spencer has been with his current companion for several months.  I think Spencer is ready for a change in companion but has enjoyed living in an apartment with 4 elders.  Spencer is happy and loves serving the lord.

Bishop Applegarth

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Elder Ison – July 2017

Montana Billings Mission Office Address 1848 Rimrock Rd Billings MT 59102

He has remained in Bozeman for another transfer.  He loves serving in the YSA ward even though it’s kind of slow because a lot of them have gone home for the summer.  It’s been fun getting to have FHE with the YSA ward.  He and his companion Elder Blum get to do service quite a bit at a nursery called God’s Garden and he really loves it.  They have found a couple of solid investigators the past couple of weeks and he asks that everyone remember the missionaries in their prayers that they will be able to bring these children of God into the fold.   This month he hit his 18 month mark, and will be home in 6 short months.    This is a little excerpt from his email last Monday concerning the final stretch of his mission….

I hope and pray that this final stretch of the mission, I can “kick it in!” That I can become a better missionary then I now am, that I can continue to repent and change and become the person my Heavenly Father and Savior know I can be. I hope to give it all to the Lord, to work hard with all my might, mind and strength. To let this last 6 months be the best and to work harder than I ever have, to bring souls unto Christ. I LOVE being a missionary and nothing has been more rewarding then this. The Gospel is true and has been restored. I know this is Jesus Christ church and his gospel, I know this is the work of God and that through this great plan and the Savior makes it possible, all things are possible. We can change, and become who we are supposed to be and we can live with our families for time and all eternity. “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me” Phillipians 4:13

Kristie Ison

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Elder Jessee – July 2017

Mission Office 29 Wiryeseong-daero 22-gil (Ogeum-dong) Songpa-gu Seoul-teukbyeolsi 05655 South Korea

This was a great week. We met with 3 investigators, all of which have great potential I am very excited for that. One guy I met on the subway the other day. He saw me smiling and waving to everyone in the station and asked me why I was doing that. I said because I am a missionary. He did not believe in God at all and asked why there were so many churches. I began to explain that after Christ’s death, many churches were confused and began to create their own doctrines. I talked about the apostasy and then the restoration. It was like something clicked in his brain, like the spirit testified to his heart of something he already knew to be true, something that was deeply rooted inside him. We met him yesterday and because he has no knowledge of religion, God, or Christ we will take it very slowly with him. He asks great questions and we were able to tell him of the Love that God and Christ have for him. He began to play with the thought that maybe God directed him to meet me on the subway and we affirmed that that was true. A lot of spirit in that meeting. I hope that he allows the spirit to continue to touch his heart. He is a great guy, 22 years old and cares about the typical such as getting rich, looking handsome, and having a lot of girlfriends; but I hope we can – through the spirit – change some of those desires.

I also was able to go through the temple in Seoul this week. The most peaceful session of my life. I received a lot of answers to what I should be doing. I am really grateful to the Lord for the incredible blessing of the temple.

Elder Talbot – July 2017

Trinidad Port of Spain Mission Office Address PO Bag 543 Valsayn Trinidad and Tobago

This week has been pretty crazy. We had zone conference on the temple!! I learned so much about the temple I will have to teach you in the future. We had a baptism cancel on us at the last moment so that was sad, but it is on for next week. The church is growing were I am. There are like roughly 80 people at church each week, and it is soooo awesome!! Know that I love you and care a lot about you all!!

Jun 5

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Missionary Update – July 2017

Sister Ison Jentry just received her mission call to the Vancouver Washington mission and reports to the MTC September 27th.

Kristie Ison

 

Elder Jorgensen Finished mission and is safely home.

 

Elder Wheeler Australia Perth Mission Office Address PO Box 185 Tuart Hill WA 6939 Australia

Elder Seely California Redlands Mission Office Address 7000 Central Ave Highland CA 92346              

Lesson Schedule – July 2017

2nd – Gospel Doctrine: Chapter 25: Priesthood: The Power of Godliness, Priesthood/Relief Society: By Quorum/Group Presidency

9th – Gospel Doctrine: Chapter 26: Go Ye into All the World, and Preach My Gospel, Priesthood/Relief Society: Chapter 13: Peace and Contentment through Temporal Self-Reliance

16th – Gospel Doctrine: Chapter 27: They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham, Priesthood/Relief Society: Chapter 14: Losing Ourselves in the Service of Others

23rd – Gospel Doctrine: Chapter 28: O God, Where Art Thou? , Priesthood/Relief Society: Return and Receive: Elder M. Russell Ballard

30th – Gospel Doctrine: Chapter 29: Building the Kingdom of God in Nauvoo, Illinois, Priesthood/Relief Society: By Bishopric

 

Book Highlight – Jessica Day George

Jessica Day George is an LDS author who writes for the national market. Although her books are not overtly religious, they are clean, retellings of fairy tales that illustrate values of kindness, courage, sacrifice, and love.

My favorite book by her is: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. It is a retelling of the Polar Bear King fairy tale. It delves into Norwegian culture and history, and ancient Norse Mythology which is very interesting, especially for those of Scandinavian descent. Her books are light reading for adults, and can be enjoyed by those of all ages.

Becky Zundel