Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 24, 2017 - Conceptualism

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

How's my oldest son!?

Its been a crazy week weather wise this week. I'm currently looking at a field of snow. We woke up Sunday morning early and the kids had to come into Ward Council with me because Mom has a bad cough we suspect is strepp throat. She's been out with it for a few days so time to humble ourselves and go see the doctor this morning. 

It's been hard to do anything outside other than build a snow man. Amelia has been representing us well in that department:


We are all taking a few breaths after the music festival. Ben and Abby both are invited to the awards ceremony to receive something. Ben had a rough middle performance but must not have done too bad as he just got a call to play in provincials. 

Abby both played the piano and sang. She did great in both but is now burnt out and wants to take a year off. 

Ben and I have been having good ping pong conversations, especially with Sam on a road trip with Tyler. I love having kids and spending time with them. I think Ben won't hardly know what to do with himself once Sam leaves on his mission. 

Speaking of a road trip, they are in your neck of the woods.  Tyler asked if I thought it would be ok  with you ask permission for them to stop by and take you for lunch. I told them I would want to ask you and let you decide or let us know what your mission president would think about that? 

Let me know if that is something that is possible or that you would be comfortable with. 

For the ward potluck yesterday, the theme was "Kids in the Kitchen". Amelia absolutely loves the ward pot luck Sunday's. She got right into making pizza buns and jello cups yesterday morning. 



As we are now part of the Riverbend Stake, two of the stake presidency counsellors came and visited our ward. It was nice to meet them. Change is always a little uncomfortable, but it's going to be a good thing I think. 

During the regional conference where they announced the new Sherwood Park Stake, one of the area authorities talked about member missionary work and talked about opening the door for people to become curious about and ask questions about the Church and letting them choose to step through it and ask to know more. I like that idea. Our role is to invite all to come to Christ, not make all. 

I've been listening to an interesting book by Terry Givens called "Wrestling the  Angel". It is a treatise of Mormon beliefs (e.g. Pre-existence , the priesthood ban, A god we can become like, baptism, original son etc. ) and the history of those thoughts since the time of Christ up until the present day and how they were revealed or assimilated by Joseph Smith and how they have evolved over time till today. 

One that really struck me was the concept that God will save almost all of his children except for the very very few sons of perdition, and they by their own choice. Sometimes we as members get caught up in the "One True Church" mentality and forget that we believe in a temporary hell (spirit prison ) and in an everlasting (i.e. Gods) punishment, not a punishment that is everlasting. We believe in an amazing concept of Heaven wherein practically every one of Gods children will receive a kingdom of glory that is more than they even can hope for. 

For me it makes me see everyone differently. So much hope in the restored doctrine of Jesus Christ. And you are spreading that hope. Stay hopeful yourself and work with an eye of faith to bring the children of God in your area to the saving ordinances of Baptism. 

Love you lots. 

Dad

Ps. Can you send me your mission office number? I need to get a letter from them to get your drivers license. 

From Josh:

I learned a new word this week, We were talking to this referral we got from other missionaries, well actually this person's wife, and we introduced ourselves as missionaries asking if we could speak to her husband and she told us she would go get him, but then stopped and asked what our message entailed or what we were trying to do, we told her that we carried a very important message for her and her family it talked about God and how he had a living prophet on the earth today, she told us she was Catholic and that she already believed in God, we asked if she was familiar with the Bible and she told us she was but that she was a "Conceptualist" not knowing exactly what she meant by that I asked her if she would be so kind as to explain her beliefs, she told us that she believed in the concept of the bible and not the actual stories therein, this troubled me and I asked what her belief in God was, Whether it was just the Concept of God or his literal existence, she answered readily that she knew that God existed and that she felt he represented himself as love that he was a feeling inside us inspiring us to love more and care for one another, this rightly surprised me and I asked if she would explain further whether she believed in him as a being or as an energy or a light, she told us she was too uneducated to answer us directly. This troubled me all the more and I told her that God was an actual being and that in fact I knew he was, and asked her what she thought of me stating that it was a knowledge not a faith, she could not reply, so I directed the conversation to alma 32 where it talks about a seed of faith or a desire to believe growing into a knowledge how by the constant application of faith and the sight of miracles directly resultant of that faith forms the mind to a knowledge, like the starting of a car is a miracle in and among itself and yet we are only surprised when it doesn't turn. The fact of the matter is that we have a knowledge from past experiences that the car will turn on, so by that same logic we can rightly find the knowledge of God by the understanding of the first vision of Joseph Smith, and the reading of the Book of Mormon, and that prayer in faith will also yield great knowledge, she wasn't interested so we moved on leaving an invitation to read from the words of the scriptures. 

Another experience was when we went by one of our investigators to ask why she hadn't come to church, we caught her husband who was super cool and told us she wasn't ready at the moment and to try by at another time, we had a really good conversation with him and all he believes, he is agnostic (Believes in a higher power but doesn't know if it is God or not) we talked about Moral relativity and absolute truth, how gravity even if someone denies its existence it is still there, and that person just sounds crazy when he tries to convince someone that it is not true, and we related that to God how his existence was also an absolute truth, we invited him to read the book of mormon and told him that he could find a faith and understanding of this great truth through its words.
In the course of the conversation he told me of an encounter with a missionary who told him that Mormonism wasn't actually what he believed in, that he just went on a mission because if he didn't his parents would be shamed and that he would lose respect in his community but as to himself he believed that it wasn't true. This over all things I have heard on my mission ticked me off the most, that a representative of Jesus Christ would deny the faith in front of someone who could have been more open to the knowledge of God and this church had the missionary been more converted, now this man views a belief in God as simply psychology and how it works for some but not for others... we were able to testify of the reality of God and the reality of the restoration of his gospel and left. 

We were given this Book by a referral who wasn't interested, it is called The Pilgrims Progress and i read a few of its paged, it is an amazing book and really unfolds a lot about God and typical beliefs on christian understanding, it was written in 1660 and it is intriguing to see hints of the effect that apostasy had on core beliefs and truths lost, I would suggest the reading of it. 

those were the stories of the week, my invitation is to look within yourselves and try to find a deeper conversion, my fear would be that anyone who goes on their mission will be like that one elder who did it because of his parents. Do it for the Lord and because you know this is true, if you don't have a testimony then find the truth of the restoration, you can do so most effectively by Praying for God to help you know and by reading the Book of Mormon. This Church is founded on prayer and the reality that God does answer prayers. I know this is true, this all is true, because God is behind it, and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe in all truth, and that God will continue to reveal more truths to us and our prophet as we are ready for it, so be ready, if you are not then new truths will be blocked until we can comprehend current truths. Search, Ponder and Pray, question and listen, read and experience, gain a testimony, strengthen your testimony, convert yourselves then strengthen your brethren, conversion comes first. Mormon 1:15, you can learn truths at any age, so start now. 

I love you all. 

Josh

PS: I don't think that its a good idea to meet up, I really want to but I know that it is against church policy. 







Reply from Mom:


Yeah, we have Pilgrim's Progress on our shelf. From John Bunyan? Considered the first work of fiction in EnglishLiterature but impactful for teaching spiritual truths, as all good fiction does.

You're sounding awesome! Just by having real conversations with people and listening in earnest to what they have to say, they will be open to your invitations and at the very least, think about what you said.

I went to the Doc's this morning. I have Bronchitis. I blame the Snow. Currently snowing and snow covered, it is still winter here. Booooo! Someone mentioned that same time last year 80 000 people were evacuated from Fort Mac from a forest fire, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Ha! Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, can you send us the number to your mission Office? We need it for driver's license paperwork. Also, do you want to see Sam? He's around.

Aaaaaand, HApPY BIrTHDaY! To my most favourite oldest son. Did you get you $21 yet? Lol! I am SO glad you served a mission on your own terms and not because Dad and I wanted you to. We love you dearly and can't believe you are so grown up, so handsome and so smart. You honour us by living right and we are very proud of you.

Mom ❤️

Josh Reply:

the mission office Number is: 661-288-1614 

I do want to see sam but after thinking about it I felt that it would have long lasting effects, I felt a strong impression that it is a sacrifice that we needed to make not being able to see him for 4 years.

I got the 21 dollars and I am grateful for it! thank you so much for being so wonderful Mom, I love you a ton, and I am looking forward as well as feeling pretty nervous about the day I come home, there are days where I feel like I could do this forever and wish I could extend for another 2 years but others I wish I was home right now, so I am choosing to choose the happy medium and come home when I am supposed to. :) 

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