Archive for September, 2013


What we all Want

So as a missionary we get the great opportunity to go out and help people.

Our calling is quite literally to do what Christ would do were he with the very people we are with. Now of course I don’t do this perfectly or even very near perfectly but I’m trying. So while trying to be a true representative of Christ there are a few things I have noticed that are common to many, many people.

The biggest desire, the most wanted thing I notice people in life want is stability. They work so hard to try and have their own permanent possessions, they work to have a stable relationship with their friends and family. Its a constant fight to preserve that stability in life.

This desire for stability is also present in our spiritual natures. So many people want some big, huge, constant thing. Only problem with that is, that’s not how this universe works.

The way I see it is, Anything worth doing is worth doing well and anything worth doing well is going to take some effort to do well.

So that’s why we can’t just wake up and have changed because the universe’s laws don’t work like that.

There are eternal laws that everything obeys, yes everything. An example for me of one of these came to me in the form of playing the piano. I remember the first time I decided I was going to learn a real performance song. Its name was Song of the Ocean, by Jon Schmidt.

Song of the Ocean has 8 pages in it. That’s 8 pages I have to learn to complete the song. Now I in my foolishness thought I would be able to go about learning it as I had previous easier songs. Playing the whole thing through multiple times till I had the muscle memory of it.

 

Well I was wrong.

 

I had to learn it page by page by page by page. It was tedious, it was time consuming and it was hard. My family can attest that for the first week I had to focus merely on the first two pages to get the underlying theme down so I would be able to play it throughout the harder parts.

 

This relates to life and everything because nothing comes without work. In order to learn a song on the piano, you have to practice, in order to have a strong relationship with your spouse, you must show them that you love them. In order to know if there is a God, you have to put some work in there to find him.

 

God is our loving Heavenly Father but just like any good parent he does not coddle us. He wants us to get up and try to find him. He’s left us search lights, hints, notes and all sorts of things to help us but we have to follow those hints, those lights in order for them to do anything. If we just sit around waiting for something to happen, you will never find that stability you seek.

 

That’s why we as missionaries we invite people to pray, to read the scriptures and come to church. Those are just some of the ways you will find our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I promise you there is nothing that will bring as much stability as this. If you are waiting for something to happen for you, you will be waiting until the end.

 

So just like how I couldn’t learn Song of the Ocean in one day, you probably won’t find out Heavenly Father in one day. You’ll have to work for it, you’ll have to make an effort to come to him. His arms are open and reaching out to you  but he won’t force you to come into his arms.

 

I don’t know all of you reading this but I do know this about you. You are a child of our Heavenly Father, and the way to find the most peace, the most stability, in our lives is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’d love to talk with any of you if you have any questions about what I’ve written so always feel free to message me.

So if you’re looking for peace, stability, hope, joy or comfort, Christ always stands with his arms open. So in the words of an ancient prophet.

Come unto Christ and be perfected in him. Please do, it will be worth every moment of heartache and trouble to come to the Prince of Peace.

 

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Path of Life

Path of Life

So many people ask why is this life so hard, why do bad things happen to good people, why would our Heavenly Father allow so much suffering to go on? All of these questions come down to a very simple answer. Agency. The freedom to choose. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much and yes that does include everyone on this earth, that he won’t restrict our ability to choose what we’re going to do. Now that will not make us free from the consequences but others choices often will hurt us. So yeah this life is hard but that’s what will make the good so much the sweeter. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all and that through Christ we can be one family again in Heaven. To quote an ancient prophet “Come unto Christ.” Its through Christ we will be able to get through life, through Christ we will be able to survive all the craziness that life throws at us.

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So as ever missionary will can tell you there are many misconceptions we face when we’re out serving. So here are Elder Longhurst’s 9 most encountered misconceptions. So while there may be missionaries that these descriptions do match they do not apply to all of us. These are my feelings on them.

1. We as missionaries know everything, we know the answer to every Gospel question.

Well hate to break it to anyone this is a surprise to but we don’t know everything. I left when I was 18. I knew that Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and I knew that I needed the Spirit with me but other than that I really didn’t know very much. I’ve learned so much since then but the biggest fact I know is that without the Spirit I would be wasting my time.

2. That we have no identity, that we are all clones of one another that the Church just keeps pumping us out.

When people see us all in the same uniform aka white shirt, dress slacks, ties, and tags that must mean we all think the same. Well guess what, we aren’t. Take Elder Dobson and myself for example, we both like sports, both raised in the Church and both have 2 sisters, 1 brother and parents still together. Sounds like we’re pretty similar eh, well beyond that we’re worlds of difference. However the biggest differences in missionaries is why we’re on our missions, our testimonies and how we found out this is true. Cause trust me, if this wasn’t none of us would be out here.

3. We have no emotion.

It is true that missionaries generally try not to show their disappointment or anger towards people and some of them are really good at this. This isn’t because we don’t have those emotions but because we’re supposed to be representatives of Christ so we try to always act as Christ would, which is in a kind and loving way.

4. That we’re going to force you do do it our way.

This one is run into a lot, yes its great when people do what we invite them to do but we never will force you to. Our purpose is to invite others, invite not force. As a missionary we want to follow our Heavenly Fathers plan as closely as we can and that is all dependent and agency. Free choice, liberty to choose is the way, so we will never force you, that’s the adversary’s plan.

5. Its all about the numbers.

Oh they just want an other baptism, they just want one more lesson. Statements like these are completely and totally false. We don’t want to see those we teach progress towards baptism but really that’s just coming closer to Christ and if I can help 1 or 2 people come closer to Christ on my mission then it was well spent.

6. We are missionaries because its what’s expected.

No I am not out here because the Prophet has said every boy should serve a mission. No I am not out here because my family made me. No I am not out here because there is some reward for me. I am out here because my Heavenly Father has asked me too and because I love him I am serving him. The mission is not about me, its not about my  companions, its about serving my spiritual brothers and sisters and helping them come to Christ. It can be summed up as, I love my Heavenly Father and I want to do what he’s asked.

7. Being a missionary allows us to rise up the corporate ladder of the Church.

First off the Church is not a corporate ladder. I’ve met men and women who served full time missions, have been active in the Church their whole lives and still they serve in Young Mens, Young Womens, Primary or Nursery. One of the best men I’ve ever known in my life never served as a missionary, never been a bishop or president of an quorum, never even been one of the counselors for such groups. We serve missions because it is what our Heavenly Father has asked us.

8. That we can always work at 100%.

Missionary work is exhausting. There is simply no other way to put it. That said I absolutely love it. But if your missionaries, if we sometimes seem tired, sometimes fall asleep in meetings please don’t hold that over our heads forever. Should we, absolutely not but it happens. We make mistakes, then we kick ourselves and try to do better. There will be times we look like complete fools, but we’re trying.

9. That we are perfect.

Being a missionary doesn’t make you perfect. Wearing the badge that shares Christ’s name doesn’t give you the Spirit. We do not become perfect people. Missionaries can get depressed, they can get mad, disheartened, and even want to give up at times. We still suffer from our same vices as we did back home, we are doing our best though to stay away from them. But we make mistakes.

“No man knows h…

Its amazing how people can be inspired and what they can be inspired to do. This statement made by C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites so I want to share it with all of you.

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means–the only complete realist.”

C.S. Lewis

Powers of temptation.

Many people in the world believe there is no right, there is no wrong, its all dependent on the situation. Many churches even believe that there is no Satan, that the references in the Bible to him are merely figurative but this is a lie.

Satan tempts us everyday, in a sense he’s one of our teachers. Everyday we learn from what we are tempted by and we must never give in because when we give in our learning stops. That is why Christ was able to perform the Atonement, he had never stopped learning so he knew everything there was to know about temptation and that is why he was able to overcome Satan, overcome the bonds of death. Because he was the ultimate best.

So this past week Elder Dobson and I were asked why there aren’t crosses on the Mormon Chapels?

Well I will do my best to answer this question but none of this should be taken as LDS doctrine nor as anything binding, its just my views and beliefs.

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Well before we get into crosses and religion why not find out where did the cross come from, what did it originally represent, and what made it the symbol of Christianity.

Well the earliest relics we have of a cross is from ancient Egypt, called the Egyptian Cross or an Ankh the symbol of the life, regeneration and the sun. Its found in ancient hieroglyphics and often was associated with the Egyptian sun god as his symbol of power. The Ankh was much like the Roman cross except instead of it having the 4 bars the top bar ended in a loop.

Another possible birthplace of the cross is ancient Greece. We don’t really know what it represented to them but we know it was imprinted on coins as early as 1500 B.C. and it was 4 bars of equal length. The coins mainly were found around Athens and its nearby villages.

The last cross I’ll be going over is the Roman Cross or the type that Christ was crucified on. The Roman Cross has the standard 4 bars with the bottom one being twice as long as the top 3 that are all the same length. Interestingly enough the cross first became prominent in Christianity about the 3rd century AD thanks to Constantine’s victory at the Milvian Bridge. A brief summary of the story goes like this, Constantine and his army were marching down through modern Italy on his way to Rome to fight to become the emperor of all Rome. He was worried that he would not be able to conquer, after all he was the invader and his army was tired from its long conquest. He prayed for help, a way to conquer and come out victorious.  His prayer was answered by a cross appearing in the sky with the words burning on it “Conquer by this.” Still doubting he was visited by Christ in the night who told him the same thing and as a result he used that emblem as his and he conquered and become emperor and the cross became a symbol of Christianity.

So first and foremost I’ll state my beliefs on the whole crosses, the cross represents death, it was how Romans killed people in a spectacle to scare people away from opposing Roman beliefs. Being crucified wasn’t a fun, quick, easy death.

It was brutal, absolutely brutal and ruthless.

It took hours of agonizing torture for those crucified to die and they wouldn’t die from the nails, they died from exhaustion, from pain, from their bodies being completely destroyed. It was a horrible way to die.

Why would we choose to have the object that Christ, our Lord and Savior hang on our walls, our churches and be in our lives is beyond me. Yes Christ died for our sins and myself and all members of the LDS church are grateful for that but that doesn’t mean we remember his death, we remember his life, what he did and most importantly That He Lives. Nothing has greater meaning than this statement, the fact that Jesus Christ the Son of God lives means that we too will live again and that death and hell could not keep him down. He broke the chains of death that had held humanity in its grasp for so long.

So is the cross important to Mormons, Yes, however we choose not to remember the cross so much as to remember the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice, our Savior. He died on the cross for all of us and that’s what’s important, not the way he died but the fact he has Atoned for every sin, every mistake, every pain we’ve done, felt, or seen.

So no we don’t have crosses in our churches, in our churches because we remember Christ rather than the cross. I know that Christ performed the Atonement so that we can all be free from our sins one day and return to live with him again. I know this to be true and so can you. I know through the power of prayer and I testify that you can find out the same way I did. So try it out. Ask your Heavenly Father if he’s there, if he loves you and if Christ really performed the Atonement. Just try it.

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It passes all my understanding. Its simply amazing to know that we have a Heavenly Father. As the apostle Paul taught in Acts 17:29, we are the offspring of God. That is very simple in that it means to me that I am his son. With all the imperfections that I have, all the mistakes I make and all the times I doubt in myself or God does not diminish this fact.

As a missionary I have the great opportunity to go out and share the Gospel of Christ with others and so often people don’t have that realization, that ability to see themselves as more than “John Smith” or whatever their name. More than just a someone. Once someone realizes that they have Heavenly Parents they will be able to come to terms with themselves and not be so hard on themselves because of mistakes made in the past and when they make mistakes in the future they will want to be better and realize they can be better through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I love quotes, I love when people smarter than me come up with some quick and easy sentence or paragraph that sums up my feelings that would normally take me two pages to express. Without further ado this is a quote that has helped me through many hard times in my life and I truly do believe that the man, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is an apostle of God and truly inspired.

“Don’t you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I would like all of you to know that this is so true. I know it through the power of prayer and I know that all of you can too, if we keep trying, keep doing our best and never ever quit things will be all right. Christ has overcome the world and that means he can carry us through it. If we endure to the end while living the Gospel of Jesus Christ then we will be able to be with our families for forever. I love my Heavenly Father and I am eternally grateful that he sent Jesus Christ, my elder brother to make it so we can all return home.  So don’t quit. You are the son or daughter of loving Heavenly Father.

Its so true happiness isn’t a destination but a journey.
So enjoy what your doing cause anything worth doing is worth doing well.  If we could all learn to find joy rather than wait for joy we’d all be so much better off.

Starting Up!

Hello all, this blog is coming to you straight from Arizona.

I am a missionary in the Arizona Phoenix Mission, a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I get the great opportunity to go out and serve my Lord, Jesus Christ for two years of my life. I serve with various other young men who age from 18 to 25 as we go around trying to help our spiritual brothers and sisters.

A lot of people however have misconceptions about what life is like as a Mormon Missionary so that’s what this blog will simply be about, life as a missionary down in Arizona. If you ever have questions about the Church, about what we believe or what it’s like to be a missionary feel free to ask. We as missionaries will answer any question as best we can and we promise to never be offended.

Included in this blog will be stories from my time serving in the mission, quotes and pictures that are particularly powerful and whatever else I feel could help anyone who reads this.

If you ever want to ask a question directly to me you can contact me via my email of logan.longhurst@myldsmail.net

Hope you enjoy