Friday, May 1, 2015

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

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