Monday, November 18, 2013

There's a Prophet For That

     After the first few weeks in the mission, home starts to feel like a dream-- one that is vividly remembered in detail. After the first year, all but the most important things (like family and friends) are all but forgotten. A few weeks ago I was asked to snap a picture of someone using their phone and I found myself fumbling like a bumbling blockhead trying to understand the simplicity of a touch-screen. I was grateful to be relieved of the electronic device when the task was finally accomplished. I found myself in awe at how technologically handicapped I've become. The world of youtube, facebook, and the web in general is so far removed from my memory that to say the words feels like a foreign language. I never have to bother with any of it here.
    Aside from the 1 hour a week I have to email my family, all of my communication occurs face-to-face or over the telepone (old-school style, where you don't use your thumbs). I never even ride in cars! If I want to go somewhere, I walk. If I want to communicate with someone, I talk. My world is not much bigger than the area in which I work, unless I go to the Mission Home on special occasions.
     I've forgotten what it's like to have machines waiting to make your every wish come true at the touch of a finger or the warmth of your breath. Recently the surprise-finding of an American dime at the bottom of my suitcase sent me shooting through space like Christopher Reeves (that's his name, right?) in Somewhere in Time. One of the many random things that I remembered during my phsychological time travel was a commercial on TV showing off the latest iphone perks and boasting "There's an app for that!"
     No matter what your wish may be, there's an app to make it come true. Modern technology makes life easy and comfortable. Like the fat people on Wal-E, you don't even have to exert any physical effort to get what you want exactly when you want it.
     Well, here in the mission, as I don't have a plastic screen or a silicon chip to give me the answers to convenience's every demand, I have grown in my love of the Book of Mormon for this simple fact: no matter what challenges you are facing, there's someone somewhere in the Book of Mormon who's been through something similar and who has something to say to you. Thus the title of this advertisement-disguised-as-an-email.
    Your siblings pick on you? See what Nephi has to say on the matter! (1 Nephi 7:16)
    Caught in a confusion of cliques? Jacob knows what that's like. (Jacob 1:13)
    Don't feel like you have much to contribute? Chemish is the one for you! (Omni 9)
     Received a scathing email blaming you for something you didn't even do?
    There's a prophet for that! (Alma 60-61)
    Rebellious kids? A nagging spouse? There's a prophet for that! (Mosiah 27:8-10, 14 and 1 Nephi 5:2-3)
    Feeling lonely? There's a prophet for that! (Mormon 8:3-5)
     Wherever you are in life, whatever struggles you face, I promise that you will find what you need in the pages of the Book of Mormon. This book was written for our day. The prophet-historian Mormon was led by God to know, out of thousands of records, which ones would be of most help to us today. As they watched their own nation and people kill each other off, Mormon and Moroni dedicated their days to compiling this precious book for our benefit, with the final hope that it would all be worth it in the end. Visions of our future were their last hopes.
     I often think of Moroni, sitting alone in his hiding place, wondering why he had "not yet perished", his dearest friends-- his ONLY friends-- the prophets who had written before him. I imagine the kinship he must have felt with Captain Moroni, Teancum, Helaman, Nephi, Alma and Lehi. How he must have delighted at reading about better days! How he must have cherished the sweet reassurance that every former prophet's writings gave that someday the world would read their words.
     Though I can't claim to know them as Mormon and Moroni came to, the writers of the Book of Mormon have come to be dear friends to me throughout my life and especially here in the mission. 
     Elder Richard G. Scott said that "the scriptures provide the strength and authority to our declaration when they are cited correctly. They can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar. They are always available when needed. Their use provides a foundation of truth that can be awakened by the Holy Ghost. Learning, pondering, searching and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon any time, anywhere in the world.... To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change."
    Many Brazilians believe that simply to have a Bible laying open on the table will fill their home with the Spirit and protect them from the evils of the world. Please do not be so superstitious as to believe such a thing! It is not enough to have the scriptures included in your library on the shelf, sitting beside your bedside or even in your car. You have to open them up and read them. FEAST on them! They are delicious!
    Elder Scott promised that "those who consistently read the Book of Mormon are blessed with an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a greater resolve to obey His commandments and a stronger testimony of the divinity of the Son of God."
     As a representative of Jesus Christ, I challenge all who read this email to read the Book of Mormon every day. I promise that as you do, you will be blessed with the comfort and wisdom that you are seeking.

   All my love,
Sister Whitaker

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