Friday, October 28, 2011

"Let this cup pass from me..."

Elder Huffaker and I set out a couple of days ago on our bikes to go and see some people.  There were a few that thought we may be a little crazy for biking in our suits, but this did not stop us.  While riding we encountered some resistance....

Three dogs started chasing me and I tried my best to out run them but I quick realized that I wasn't going to be able to.  I managed to kick two of them away, unfortunately though as I tried to kick the third one I lost my balance and ended up going over the handlebars.  I was pretty lucky and received only one semi-serious injury and that was a pretty bad scrape on my left hand.

After we got our bikes back home all that was left to do was clean out the wound on my hand.  I began scrubbing all of the dirt and gravel out.  It was quite painful and I really didn't want to do it so I called our fearless district leader Elder Jamsa and asked him if it was really nessicary for me to get all of the dirt out.  His response was somthing along the lines of "Well if you don't want to get an infection I would say it's pretty nessicary."

My experience reminded me of another person who once asked if something was nessicary.  Jesus Christ who performed the Atonement fo us and went through more pain then any other human being has or ever will go through asked his father if he would "Let this cup from me..." (Matt 26:39)  He however submitted to the will of his father so that mankind would not "unavoidably perish" (Alma 34:9)  Sometimes my Heavenly Father has asked me to do some hard things, as he will do to all at some point, but whenever he asks me to do something that I do not want to do I remember the example of my Savior and try to respond, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dispensations and Apostasies

Prophets are vital to our Heavenly Father's plan for us. (Amos 3:7)  They tell us the things that Heavenly Father would say to us if he were here. (D&C 1:38)  Prophets teach us the way to return to our Heavenly Father. (Mosiah 15:11)  We call a period of time that the lord has a prophet on the earth a dispensation.  Sometimes though people rejected the Lord's prophets and would not listen to their teachings. (Hebrews 11:37)  When this happens Heavenly Father has to take away the prophets for a time, resulting in a period of time known as an apostasy.  Heavenly Father always send another prophet though to begin a new dispensation.

Another missionary once gave me a pretty cool example of why Heavenly Father does this:

Look at that high roller.
You wouldn't let a baby play with money would you? Of course you wouldn't and why not? Because a baby does not understand the true value of it. A baby would just rip up the the dollar bills or swallow the quarters. The same applies to why Heavenly Father doesn't let wicked people have prophets. They don't understand the true value of a prophet, so they just end up stoning them or sawing them asunder.

Babies eventually grow older though and then their parents eventually trust them with money.
Well most of the time at least.
Again just as with the babies and their parents, wicked generations of people give way to a more mature group of people and our Heavenly Father trusts them enough to send them a prophet again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"What kind of white guy are you?"

We recently had transfer calls and the missionary I had been working with, Elder Wood, got transferred down to Hardin and he was replaced with Elder Huffaker.  Elder Wood was a Native American, so while I had Elder Wood as a companion he got a lot of questions about which tribe he was from.  Usually the question would come in the form of, "What kind of Indian are you?"  More often then not people would usually then turn the question towards me in the form of "What kind of white guy are you?"  Unfortunately I am not as knowledgeable in my family history as Elder Wood is in his, so the asker of the question would usually leave the conversation very disappointed with me.  So I decided I needed to find out what kind of "white guy" I am.  The first place I looked was, which is a free family history website set up by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Well it turns out that my ancestors were some of the first Europeans to settle in the new world, so it took a bit of digging to find where my ancestors were from before they came to America.  It would appear from my research that they came mainly from the British Isles with a little bit of German, Dutch, and various other nationalities thrown in there.

It hit me while I was doing this research how much the gospel of Jesus Christ truly blesses families.  If it were not for the church and its many programs that it has for genealogy I would not even know where to begin my research about my family and it is through these programs that many families are sealed for time and all eternity in the temple.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I will be able to live with my family forever and that we aren't permanently separated after we die and I would not have this knowledge if it were not for Jesus Christ and his church that has been restored to the earth once again.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that one true church that was established before the foundations of this world and that its teaching can help families not only in this life but also in the life to come.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"I am a Child of God and He has sent me here."

  We are all children of God.  This is made evident numerous times in the scriptures, such as when Jesus Christ taught his disciples that while they pray to address God as "Our Father which art in heaven." (Matthew 6:9)  Another great example is the time when the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans said, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..."  He goes on to instruct the Romans about why this is so important, "...And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:16-17)  We have a divine heritage as children of God, we are capable of so much good.  We have been sent here to live on this earth to learn and grow and become more like our heavenly father so that we may dwell with him some day. (Alma 34:32)

  I was recently studying in the Pearl of Great Price, a volume of scripture which includes revelations from the Prophet Joseph Smith about other great prophets such as Moses and Abraham.  While reading I came across a great story about the prophet Moses.  While Moses was in the process of praying and trying to receive revelation from our heavenly father, Satan came and tried to distract him from what he was doing and said, "Moses, son of man, worship me."  Satan, who is the enemy of all happiness and righteousness, attempted to get Moses to forget his relationship with his Father in Heaven.  Satan knew that if he could do this he could lead Moses astray and that Moses would never be able to live up to his potential as a child of God and would never become the great prophet that he was destined to become.  Moses in response to this blasphemous command said, "Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?" (Moses 1:12-13)  In his time of temptation and trial he remembered who he was and the great things that were in store for him if he submitted himself to his father's will.  I know that each and everyone of us are also children of our Heavenly Father and that we all have a great potential to live up to.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"They had been taught by their mothers."

  It was the year 64 B.C., the Nephites had been waging war against the Lamanites for 9 years, and it was not going in their favor.  Two thousand young men saw that their people needed help and volunteered to help out in the fight.  Their leader Helaman marched them to join with the army of Antipus, who's own army had received great casualties from a recent battle with the Lamanites.  Upon arriving they saw that Antipus was being overtaken by the Lamanites.*  Helaman turned to his two thousand men and asked, "Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?"  The two thousand warriors responded by saying,  "Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus."  Helaman was amazed by this statement and later commented on it in a letter to another great military leader, "And now I say unto you... that never before had I seen such great courage... Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them... And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."  Because of the things taught to these two thousand warriors by their mothers they had enough faith in God to know they would be delivered from the hands of their enemies, so much so that not a single one of them died.  This faith that their mothers had instilled in them allowed them to save, not only the army of Antipus from annihilation, but to go into and win many more battles against great odds and help ensure the survival of their nation.

  President Joseph F. Smith believed very firmly in the great influence for good that mothers can be, he once said, "A mother that is successful in raising a good boy, or girl, to imitate her example and to follow her precepts through life, sows the seeds of virtue, honor and integrity and of righteousness in their hearts that will be felt through all their career in life; and wherever that boy or girl goes, as man or woman, in whatever society they mingle, the good effects of the example of that mother upon them will be felt; and it will never die, because it will extend from them to their children from generation to generation." 

  There may be no other person in my life who has had a greater impact then my mother.  I consider myself very blessed to have the mother that I do.  I probably would not be where I am today if it were not for the things that my mother had taught me.  I believe strongly that there is no person on this earth who can have a stronger impact on any individual then the mother of that individual.  This mother's day I am grateful for all of the mothers who have influenced their children for good and in doing so have made the world a better place.

*Story abridged.  For full account of what happened see Alma 56.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why does this have to happen to me?

  Many people when facing a difficult time in their life have asked, "Why does God allow bad things to happen to me?"  This is a very valid question, in fact a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, once asked this same question during his incarceration in Liberty Jail.

  In Doctrine and Covenants section 122 verse 7, Heavenly Father gives him an answer to this question, "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

  God gives us each our own trials that we must go through during this mortal life to help us grow and become better people.  I have seen in my own life how the most difficult times for me are the times that I learn the most.

  Paul V. Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave an excellent talk on this subject during the April 2011 General Conference entitled: More Than Counqereors through Him That Loved Us.  In his talk he reads a quote from an apostle that I really enjoyed and think sums up this subject quite well, it says, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joseph Smith - Prophet of the Restoration

Joseph Smith was an extremely important individual in the history of the church.  At a young age he desired to know which church he should join.  It was difficult for him to decide which church he should join so he decided to ask our Heavenly Father.  His answer was that he should join none of them because they were all wrong.  He was also told that he would be key in restoring the true church on to the earth.  This movie is the story of Joseph Smith and his life.  It is an hour long but it is definitely worth watching if you have time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Parable of the Talents

  During his ministry Jesus Christ taught many parables.  One of my personal favorites is the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25: 14-30)  In the story a man entrusts three of his servants with his money.  He gives unto one five talents, to another two, and to the last one.  Two of the three servants go trade and invest with the money that has been entrusted to them.  The other servant however is embarrassed because his master only gave him one talent so he goes and buries it, to hide it from the world.  The servants then return to their master to report on what they have done with the responsibilities given them.  The two servants who traded and invested the money doubled what they had before.  When their master heard this he said, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."  The other servant because he had hid his talent came unto his lord with even less then he had before.  When he told his lord this, his lord was angry with him, calling him wicked and slothful, and then cast him out from his presence.

  There are many things we can learn from this parable, but the thing that has always struck me when reading it is the many opportunities our Heavenly Father give us to prove our trustworthiness to him.  We, like the servants, are given things that we have responsibility over.  These things could be our responsibility to obey the commandments or an opportunity to help another.  This is essentially the purpose of life itself, to prove that we are capable to handle the few responsibilities given to us in this life so that we can earn the things that our father in heaven wants to bless us with in the next.  I hope someday that we will all get to hear that congratulatory phrase, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Lawgiver

  Most human beings believe in the concepts of right and wrong, and of good and evil.  Who decides though what is good and right?  Most people I have met have differing views of this concept.  For example in a college dormitory you will have some people who find it acceptable to take his roommates food without asking and others who think that it constitutes stealing and is almost unforgivable.  On a more serious note there are also those who adhere to the philosophy that murderers should be sentenced to death to protect society from it happening again and others who believe that no crime necessitates the need for the shedding of more blood.  I will not pretend to have the answers for either scenario, however we see now the need for a higher power in deciding what is wrong and what is right.

  Alma posed asked his son a profound question in the Book of Mormon, "How could he sin if there was no law?"- Alma 42:17  If good and evil exist there must be a law upon which these concepts are predicated.  Lehi also had some interesting thoughts concerning this matter, "And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God."-2 Nephi 2:13  In conclusion there is no God without a law of good and evil and inversely I would say that there is no good and evil without a God to lay down these laws.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Power of the Atonement

  Many people have heard of Jesus Christ and his atonement.  Many people however do not realize to what extent the atonement can play in our lives.  The Book of Mormon teaches us many things concerning the atonement.  One of the first Book of Mormon prophets, Nephi teaches us the importance of the atonement plays in the forgiveness of sins, "Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."-2 Nephi 2:7  We learn two important things from Nephi here.  First, that it is through the atonement that we are able repent of our sins.  Second, that the atonement applies to all men as long as they humble themselves before the Lord.

  There is another aspect of the atonement that many people do not realize.  Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, taught this concerning the atonement, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."-Alma 7:11-12  We learn from this that the atonement is not only for those who have sinned and need to repent (which we all need at some point) but it is also for those who need comfort and guidance. 

President Boyd K. Packer gave a talk concerning this subject at a BYU devotional:

I love how he says that there is nothing in our lives that the atonement of Jesus Christ can not fix.  I have seen this in my own life and I am grateful to have such a loving father in heaven who gave us the means to return to him and for his son who gave his life for us. I leave my own testimony of the power of the atonement and that it can cause life changes in any who seek out its blessings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Book of Mormon

As a missionary I claim to know a lot of things.  I know that God called prophets such as Moses and Noah. (Amos 3:7)  I know that He sent his son, Jesus Christ to live and die for us. (John 3:16)  I know that when Christ was on the earth he set up his church on the earth. (Ephesians 4:11-14)  I know that after he and his apostles were killed that his true church and the authority to run it were lost. (Amos 8:11-12)  I know that, as he had done in the past, he called another prophet, Joseph Smith. (JS-H 1:15-20)  How do I know all of these things?  Because I have read and prayed about The Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith through the help and guidance of Heavenly Father translated an ancient record now know as The Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon contains in it truths that were lost from the Bible because of the falling away or apostasy that occurred after the death of Christ and his apostles.  The Book of Mormon is also the convincing evidence that all of the things that I have talked about are true.  This is why we call The Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion because, if The Book of Mormon is true then the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth once again.  It says in the Introduction to The Book of Mormon: "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."  But how do we receive that divine witness?  Moroni the last prophet to write in The Book of Mormon gives us this promise: "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." -Moroni 10:4-5  So I would encourage all that read this to take Moroni's challenge which is to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it to find out for yourselves if the book is true.  I leave you with my firm knowledge and testimony that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it will bless all who read it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's the point?

Yesterday I had the solemn responsibility of speaking at a funeral.  The death of someone else has often been the cause for many people to ponder the meaning of life.  Why are we here?  Is there more to life then merely working all our lives and then dying?  Well I know that there is.  In the Book of Mormon, Alma teaches us "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." -Alma 34:32.  So there it is, there is probably no simpler way to put it.  Our purpose in this life is to get ready to meet God by obeying the commandments and partaking of priesthood ordinances such as baptism.  This is why the message that we have to share as missionaries is so important, it's a message of hope, that there is something more to this life and that God has a plan for us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Hi, My name is Elder Mull.  I am a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I am part of a pilot program to try using the internet for missionary work.  In this blog I will be writing about my experiences out in the mission field and discussing the gospel.  You can also find me on facebook.  If you ever have any questions feel free to ask me, I would love to talk to you about it.