March 27, 2022
I promised to begin our post this week with a brief summary of the fireside with Elder Ames last Sunday. I took 4 pages of notes and typed up for pages in my journal. A brief summary will be a challenge. Elder Ames is an attorney living in Liberty, Missouri, with his wife, Kimberly. They have four children and 3 grandchildren. He shared several sweet stories from his time with Elder Gong before getting to the meat of his message. The two principles he felt impressed to share were family and the Doctrine of Christ.
D&C 1:17 which talks about a calamity that would come upon the earth without Joseph Smith’s work of restoration intended to increase faith in the earth and establish the Lord’s everlasting covenant. When Moroni appeared to young Joseph, he quoted verses from Malachi 3 and 4 with some variation from the way they read in the Bible. These verses speak of the day when all the proud and wicked will burn as stubble leaving them without root or branch, in other words without ancestors or posterity. Moroni’s first message was about family connections and the need to preserve them. Joseph became an instrument to restore all that was needed to avoid this calamity through the principles and ordinances of the gospel. In other words, to restore the Doctrine of Christ to the earth. Elder Ames likes to visualize this doctrine as a five-point star.
He noted that endurance does not include “gutting” it out until the end. This conclusion is easy to reach if we list these five principles and ordinances as a checklist. He said the Doctrine of Christ was never intended to be a checklist. In fact, they represent the repetitive, iterative process that allows God’s children to overcome the natural man and eventually become worthy to live in His presence, receive all that He has, and become joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
How does it work? As we develop and exercise Faith in Christ and His infinite Atonement, our desire to repent increases. We see repentance less as something that is miserable and depressing, and more as an escape route from sin that leads to happiness. Our baptism becomes a sign of a covenant with God that we are seeking a better more holy life on the covenant path. Receiving and qualifying for the Gift of the Holy Ghost offers us the guidance, comfort, and tutoring we need to remain on that path. The Holy Ghost “will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2N 32:3) Enduring to the end refers to our using this cycle or pattern over and over again as we seek to be perfected. It becomes the axis on which we repeat the process again and again, each time at a higher level.
Once we act on the personal revelation we receive through the Gift of the Holy Ghost, our faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement increase. Thus our desire and ability to change through repentance increases. Each Sunday we renew all covenants we have made with God by partaking of the sacrament. By promising to take His name upon us, always remember Him and keep His commandments, we are promised to ALWAYS for His Spirit to be with us. As the justifying, sanctifying power of the Spirit works in us, our faith increases, and the cycle begins another more elevated revolution.
Elder Ames referred to the five laws we learn of in the temple. They include: the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, the law of chastity and the law of consecration. He then explained how making covenants and keeping these laws creates a clearer picture of the doctrine of Christ. It overlays it and augments the power available to all to become who we were meant to become.
Obedience increases faith. This allows us to come to the Savior so He can show us our weaknesses and access the redeeming, enabling power of His Atonement. In doing this we increase our ability and determination to sacrifice our sins along with anything necessary to live the gospel and better keep the commandments. Elder Ames pointed out that there is no quicker way to extinguish the influence of the Holy Ghost than to break the law of chastity in any degree. As we endure by trusting the wisdom and power of this doctrine, we found ourselves living the Law of Consecration, designed to make us more holy. Elder Ames described The Doctrine of Christ as “love in its purest form.” It is available to all willing to follow it. There is no need for “any to be left behind” if they use their agency to abide in this doctrine as a way of life.
The Doctrine of Christ is what missionaries teach! All else in the gospel points to it or rests upon it. It is what we learn in the temple along with conversation needed to enter God’s presence. Elder Ames concluded by offering his certain witness that Jesus Christ lives and that His Doctrine is powerfully simple and yet simply powerful.
The sisters’ thrust this week has been to get everything ready for the 2022 missionaries who are coming. My job was to clean and make ready apartment 2 at the 4-plex. This involved painting the closets and front door, cleaning fans, wiping out cupboards, scrubbing cabinet fronts and fixtures, and servicing and cleaning the AC/ heating unit. Gratefully I had Darrel to help me. Preparations included a shopping trip to make certain everything on the list of stock items for AOA housing was available and in good order. We still need to dust the blinds, clean the windows and scrub the kitchen floor, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. We want everything to be as nearly perfect as possible for our incoming people. I worked at the 7th community center this week, submitted a brief history of the 4-plex for the books being compiled for each home, designed a tornado calling tree for 14 rather than seven, and ordered 84 more AOA history books for those who want one. The interest has been over-whelming to me. I never imagined so many would be interested in it.
We had steady rain for much of the week. Under those conditions it is impossible to have a clean car. The rain also made digging a water line to Tower Hill from the Diahman Center a rather miserable project, but our Elders got it done. They also put in a new parking area at Tower Hill. Darrel hauled three truckloads of gravel for that project. He made two trips to pick up needed materials to keep the project moving forward. One was to Jamesport and one was to Gallatin. He also completed all the finish work items at the 4-plex so the sisters could get started. Tiny blades of grass are peeking through the ground where it was hydro-seeded. With a water source now available, we hope to make Tower Hill akin to the Garden of Eden.
Darrel’s 72nd birthday was this week. I hosted a friend party for him on Friday with dinner at Mi Mexico in Gallatin and then a theater production of “Rip Cord” at their hometown theater. It was likely his best friend party ever.
We’ve experienced a lot of firsts here, but today we experienced a last. We had our final fast and testimony with just the seven couples now serving. It was a tender experience. With conference next weekend, we won’t meet again until the new couples arrive. This chapter of our mission is coming to an end and an exciting new chapter is about to begin! Hopefully spring has found you. Color returning to the earth always delights the eye and brings joy to the heart. Our love, Elder and Sister Kenison