Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013, Of "one heart and one mind" in the Illinois Nauvoo Mission.

The other night after Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo we're just standing around outside. The moon was full and beautiful, a true harvest moon. I thought, out load, and said, not to anyone in particular, "Is that a harvest moon or what?" President Gilliland was standing there and said to me, "You're going to miss this place." And I said "Yes, of course I'll miss it." I've come to know that this is sacred ground. But it's not only that. It's the people here. We all come from our fragmented lives to this place, set apart to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring others to Him. Somehow we all bond in this purpose and become of "one heart and one mind." That's putting it pretty simply. It's more than that, particularly here in this sacred place. We are not the first to come here from our fragmented lives. The saints came from all parts of the world to this place, bonded by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, at that time newly restored to the earth and they became of "one heart and one mind". They took the Gospel of Jesus Christ from this place out to all the world, just as we come to this place to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this special way, by sharing the lives of the saints who were here on this sacred ground with people who come here, some not even knowing why they stopped here. They just see the Historic Nauvoo sign and come in to find out what's here. Little do they know what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about the saints who were here in the 1840's. He said, "These are the best people under Heaven." It's not possible to hear of their lives and feel of the Spirit that is here and not have it affect your heart and mind.
As we leave here to go back to our fragmented lives, I pray that we can retain some of this purpose of  "one heart and one mind" and it will help us to live better lives.
Last night Butler's were at Rendezvous. It was so good to see and talk to and hug them. "The Golden Oldees"! They said we were the "Newbees" when we came from the MTC. Then the "New Newbees" came a week later, so we called the ones who were already here "The Golden Oldees" and golden they were. They loved us and taught us and we loved them back and maybe taught them a thing or too also. It was a time of change here in Old Nauvoo, in the script for the sites and the "guest card" and the way it was presented.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Brian Taylor letter, September 15, 2013

Another Sunday Edition

Brian L Taylor
4:41 PM (49 minutes ago)
to me

Dear Elder and Sister Scott ,

            How blest you are to be where you are and doing what you are doing!!!

            During this week I had an opportunity to hear a sermon that left deep impressions on my mind.  The words I heard made me think even more deeply than ever before about the meaning of the word "integrity."  A couple of the ideas I had heard before, but the additional details that were included in the sermon added strength to my own testimony of our need to be totally honest.

            We have all heard it mentioned about Brigham Young's experience during the building of the Salt Lake Temple.  During the early years of the construction, some stone was utilized in the foundation of the building.  But an error was made.  Some sandstone was included in that foundation, but the error was not detected until the weight of the walls caused the foundation to crack.  One course of action would be just repair the damage and proceed with the construction.  I am sure that Brigham Young truly agonized over what had happened.  However, instead of simply settling for repairs, he decided that the whole foundation would be torn out and solid granite used in its stead.  He reasoned, "This is the House of the Lord.  It must be perfect."  I just imagine the great sense of relief that he felt forever after that he had made the right decision.  I have heard about other contractors on temples who have used inferior materials or procedures which, when discovered, were ordered to be torn out and done according to specifications.

            Another incident in history that is a powerful sermon involved King Henry VIII of England.  Most of us are aware that he wanted to divorce his wife (a sin in the Catholic faith) and marry Anne Boleyn.  Sir Thomas More, one of his court, was asked to tell an untruth to support the king in his nefarious scheme, but Thomas repeatedly refused.  Then, even though More finally lost his wife, his family and all his worldly possessions, then even lost his life, he refused to tell an untruth.

            A number of years ago a young missionary, who had been discovered to be breaking mission rules, stood before his mission president and seemed to be defensive about a habit which he had practiced all his life.  The mission president tried to open the young man's eyes by telling him that he was not just asking him to change his habit, tut to help him see the need to remember the sacred covenants he had made in the house of the Lord.  Using this measuring stick, we all need to DESIRE to keep with exactness every covenant we have made in the sacred temple.  An errant elder not only disappoints his mission president and his loved ones at home, but our Heavenly Father.

            Finally, I want to relate a brief incident that some of you may have heard before.  A young father had a Word of Wisdom problem.  He would sneak out behind the barn to have his cigarette so none of his loved ones would see him (how could he ever hope to hide the odor that surrounds him with such a habit???)  However, his young son walked around the corner of the barn one day and discovered his father in the act of lighting up.  It was an awkward moment--father humiliated to have been discovered, and an adoring son who at the moment was not so adoring.  The young boy broke the silence with the chastening, "You looked everywhere but UP."

            I admire you for your commitment and dedication--qualities that characterize the true servant of the Lord.  Oh, how I pray that we will all remember--and keep--the covenants we have made in the House of the Lord.  I recently had called to my attention that a young returned missionary was letting "fun things" keep him from filling his home teaching responsibilities.  Small thing?  How would one feel about it when having a personal priesthood interview with the Lord?  Especially when it is too late to do it over!

Love, Brian

Monday, September 2, 2013

Brian Taylor's missionary letter, September 1, 2013

Some thots for the week
Brian L Taylor
5:06 PM (13 hours ago)

Dear Elder and Sister Scott,
            This has been a wonderful week, and one of the main reasons that it is special is because of some inspirational speakers I have hard on BYU devotionals.   I am certain that the reason for my being impressed was that I was listening with "hungry" ears.  I would hope that as you read some of the things that impressed me, you too will focus, not only on the facts that are written, but also upon their eternal significance to you and me.
            First, Elder Claudio r. M. Costa of the Quorum of the Seventy stated that to gain a testimony of the book of Mormon he prayed for 14 hours.  But he did bear testimony that he knew the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  His experience leads me to wonder if we pray with such pure intent to find answers to our concerns.
            On the humorous side, he related that when he and his dear wife began married life together, they were so poor that they had to move their furniture each morning to make room to let in the sunbeams.
            On Thursday I listened to Sister Len Novella, who I understood is on the staff of educators at BYU.  I was intrigued by some of her figurative language used in her talk; e. g. "The Lord's winds never cease to blow toward the Promised Land." These words bear pondering.
            One of seven children in the family, (5 girls) she and her sisters had to deal with the oriental tradition that girls are inferior to boys--a handicap that we Americans can hardly fathom.  If you were a lady, how would you deal with such a handicap wherever you went?
            The father of her family encountered an illness that took him to death's door.  The mother, unprepared to support her family, frantically summoned the children and had each one place a hand on their father's and pledge that they would work together and support each other whenever needed.  In a temporal way the mother later needed that support as she labored daily to find a few handfuls of rice for their subsistence.
            In their spiritual life the family was bound to the predominant religion with very strong ties.  Any "intruder" was not received kindly; however, when LDS missionaries came into their area, the mother listened hesitantly, but each lesson had its effect.  It was difficult to change their way of life--coffee, tobacco, and then TITHING!  But full effort brought them to the point that they were baptized.  That brought even stronger persecution from friends and neighbors, which was especially hard on the children in school.  A couple of the girls were denied awards that were due them. The speaker has poignant memories of her mother's efforts to pay a full tithing in rice, which the family really needed themselves.  It makes one think of the Prophet Elijah, who asked the widow to make him a cake from her last remaining meal when she and her son were facing starvation.
            Fast forward quite some time--ALL of the children received a good education and distinguished themselves.  Not all were educators, but some chose other professions.  Family members were able to qualify for receiving the blessings of the temple, so that fact in itself tells how far the family had progressed.
            Few talks that I have ever heard have stirred such deep feelings as did this dear sister's.  Not often do we hear of a situation where a family has to overcome obstacles like those mentioned, but with faith and determination, we can achieve great things in life.
            Have a great week!  You're in my prayers always.
Love, Brian