Friday, May 1, 2015

Go Yankees?….

Hey hey hey, 

First off I don't have a lot of time because we were able to go to a Yankees game today... So that took up a huge chunk. To answer any questions about the game:

1. I don't know if the Yankees even won. The game went into extra innings and we had to leave early so we could proselyte...

2. No, I didn't wear sunscreen. I got burnt to a crisp. Sorry mom.

3. Go Yankees?…..
Lebron James is my favorite quarterback on the Yankees. Go Team!
This last week our Ward had a "Meet The Mormons" event. Where we showed the film along with a little presentation before where we had people make a poster board that talks about themselves, things they like to do, how the church has impacted their life, etc. it turned out to be a great success. We hooked up the movie on a projector in the gym and tons of people from the ward, and even some people from the neighborhood walked in. I don't know if it's because "Meet the Mormons" is just a really good movie or because I haven't watched a "real" movie in a while, but it was on point. 
See that super basic sign? Yeaaaaaah I did that.
There's a super cool diner here called George's. It's a missionary favorite here in the mission. Everybody knows what George's is. I knew about George's before I ever served in the Olmstead zone. The owner, George, looooves the missionaries most likely because missionaries drop dough there, but also because he is a friendly guy and for the most part missionaries are friendly. He hooks us up with free stuff all the time. He is going to be expanding the diner soon and he said that he was going to put a booth in especially for missionaries. We all laughed and told him how funny he was for making that joke. George didn't laugh. George was dead serious about having a booth reserved for the missionaries. Haha I love that place. 

Like I said I don't have much time, but I do want to share an experience we had last Friday. Elder Thompson and I were out working n stuff when our appointment cancelled. We had some knocking doors as a backup, but Elder Thompson had the prompting that we should go visit a 15 yr. old investigator that is the son of a less active member. I've been learning never to doubt Elder Thompson because he is very spiritually in tune. I've also been learning never to suppress a good thought because they're usually from God. 

We immediately hopped on the train and rode to the stop his house is on. As we were getting off we met him in the train station. We were going out, he was coming in. Of the hundreds of thousands of people in our area what are the odds that we pass him randomly in the train station? I dunno what the odds are, but the odds were in our favor that night. He said that he was going to Modells (a sports store. It's super popular in the Bronx) to buy some stuff for basketball. He asked if we wanted to come with him, so of course we went with him to Modells. At first he was a little quiet. He wasn't saying much. Especially when we brought up "Holy things" (must say in your finest Nacho Libre accent.) He wasn't saying much, so I just started talking basketball with him. We talked basketball the whole time he was doing his shopping at Modells.

After that he invited us to go to Taco Bell with him. First off it's Taco Bell. There isn't too many Taco Bells in our area so we had to stop off and get the cheapest diarrhea in town. Second thing, I've learned that great conversations happen over a good Cheesy Gordita Crunch and this could be our chance to finally talk gospel. Once we got our Cheesy Gorditas and Crunchwraps we sat down and started conversing. We brought up the Gospel again and he was talkative and interested in it more than before. In talking to him we found out he is a super bright kid. He loves basketball, but the only reason he plays so much basketball is so that he can get a scholarship and go to college. He wants to go to school and get some money so he can get his mom out of the Bronx. He has a bright future and we let him know how the Gospel can help him with a bright future. We shared the classic Helaman 5:12 with him which says: 

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

When we put Christ first and build our foundation on Christ as opposed to building our foundation by putting all of our energy into other things like sports, work, school or Twitter we are able to have more purpose in life. Yes all those things are good, but we are what we spend our time thinking about. If we never give a thought to Christ we will never reap the rewards of a Christ-like life. You are the sum of your thoughts. If we can build our foundation upon Christ we won't be shaken up by the tough things in life. 

God is real people. That ain't a joke. 

Peace, love, and blessings.

Elder Tyler J Johanson

What is da truth?


Today Elder Thompson and I went to the 9/11 Memorial because he has never been. We saw some other stuff. Bought some companionship ties in the Financial District at the best store ever, Century 21. The weirdest part of the whole day was when we stopped off at Burger King to get a bite to eat. This Burger King was off the rocker. We walk in and they ask us how many are in our party. We told em two and then they handed us menus and led us to a table. Turns out this BK was a sit down restaurant haha. What in the world?! We just wanted some whoppers quick man, but instead we had to wait at our table for a waiter to come by and take our order. What kind of messed up world is this???

At the strangest Burger King ever Impatiently
 waiting to tell our waiter that I want a greasy whopper
The members in this Ward are awesome. They are super interesting. Every person you talk to is completely different from the other person.... Even though they are all somewhat similar in other ways. We were able to teach a lady this week in our Ward named Barbara Jean. This lady is so cool she wakes up early in the morning to watch the news so she can text us the weather when we wake up. Every morning without fail. I love this Ward.
Teaching our home girl Barbara Jean
Elder Thompson and I get to teach the youth on Sunday's which is absolutely the sickest thing since small pox. Our lesson this last Sabbath was "recognizing truth and error". Because I have writers block and can't think of much to write this week I'm ginna go off on a tangent. I hope you will not skip to the end of the email like everybody else does when they come across a ton of doctrine in a missionary’s email. If you do it is ok, I will forgive you eventually, sitting by the fire while we're eating fondue. 

So say hello to a discourse in 3,2 swaggy:

Before I enter fully into the investigation of the subject of recognizing truth and error I want to bring up the subject from the very beginning, so that whoever might be reading this may understand regardless of their previously gained doctrinal/spiritual knowledge. "If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it could be a hard matter to get right."

In order for us to recognize the difference between truth and error we first have to realize some other things. I don't just want to throw out the words "truth" and "error" without explaining the importance that we choose truth over error eryy day.

If there is such a thing as truth there also has to be such a thing as error. Nowadays it seems that society’s vision of truth and error seems to be completely flipped around. 2 Nephi 15:20 states, "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." We are in the days now where the adversary has gotten into the minds of people and now it's not just Satan going against good, but multitudes of others are going against good now too. Just think for a second how many people make fun of church goers for being "Jesus freaks" and "wet blankets" because they are trying to do what's right. On the other side you have people trying to make things contrary to God’s law seem like a good thing saying:

"Marijuana is ok. It's a plant man! It's basically like I'm eating vegetables. Cannabis is rad man!!"-38 yr. old that still lives at home with his parents

Then sometimes there are things that don't seem that bad so we decide to give in. Author and commentator Malcolm Muggeridge once told a story about some frogs who were killed without resistance by being boiled alive in the cauldron of water. Why didn’t they resist? Because when they were put in the cauldron, the water was tepid. Then the temperature was raised ever so slightly, and the water was warm, then a tiny bit warmer, then a bit warmer still, and on and on and on. The change was so gradual, almost imperceptible, that the frogs accommodated themselves to their new environment--until it was too late.

The point that Mr. Muggeridge was making was not about frogs but about us and how we tend to accept evil as long as it is not a shock that is thrust on us abruptly. We are inclined to accept something morally wrong if it is only a shade more wrong than something we are already accepting.” (National Press Club Forum.) We can't give into even the little sins or else larger, more serious transgressions will follow. We cannot rationalize sins. We can't think that it is ok to go up to someone and deck them in the face, and then rationalize it with,"Well at least I didn't murder them by attacking their jugular." That's not cool people!

With SO much confusion about right and wrong HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT?

On Sunday we had the youth read Joseph Smith History 1:8–20 and make a list of the steps Joseph Smith took to distinguish truth from error. I encourage you to go read it on your own, but for sake of time I will just tell you the main steps he took to find out which was the true church. He pondered. He didn't just think. He pondered it. He thought about it carefully. He studied the scriptures to see what God had already spoken on the subject. He prayed to God. What better source do we have to go to than God himself?

Listen up people! D&C 9:8 "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."

We don't have to take guesses on what's good. We can know. We can be reaffirmed of good things that we may have already discovered through this process of pondering, studying, and praying.

The knowledge of this process is simple to understand. I wouldn't be surprised if you could have given me this simple answer of pondering, studying, and praying when I first posed the question of, "How can we recognize truth and error?" It's basic. However, it's basic for a reason. It's basic because it's crucial.

Now one last analogy to end my rant that probably not a soul read. Once we have the knowledge of what is true we need to make decisions in accordance with this knowledge. We can't coast up the hill of life. Elder Thompson shared the analogy of a car driving up a steep hill. In order to go up the hill you need to put your foot on the gas to accelerate yourself up the hill. If you put the car in reverse you're going to go speeding backward to your destruction. There's accelerating. There's reverse. Then there's also neutral. If you put a car in neutral on a steep hill it will also go backward and eventually crash. In order to be the absolute best we can be, we have to consistently put our foot down on that spiritual accelerator.

This gospel is real. It's not some made up fantasy that sounds kind of good so millions of people around the world decided to hop on the Church of Jesus Christ bandwagon. It's true doctrine, and true doctrine changes lives. I love this gospel.

Also I love you!

Have a cat’s meow of a week.

Elder Tyler J Johanson