Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung...

Hello Family!
It seems it's been a short couple of days since I last spoke to. The clock's have sprung forward and the weather is starting to become quite attractive. Today is the first day I've been without a suit coat since last October.  
This week we have taught Herman and he is doing very well. Because of Conference he will have to wait and be baptised the following weekend. This past lesson we spoke about the 10 commandments and keeping the Sabbath Day. With him being a YSA it was a great lesson focusing how the 10 commandments relate to us in our day, and with all the commodities we have at our finger tips. He is feeling ready for his baptism.
Elder Smart and I had a meeting with President this past Saturday and you can tell that President is starting to come into his own as the mission President. I would say it wouldn't be an easy job to take over from President and Sister Bullock, but President and Sister Preston have done a great job. And are now starting to implement their own ideas and personality into it. It has been great to see it up close.
The YSA ward that I now am in, is directly after the Wythenshawe/Manchester South gets out. Therefore I get to mingle with all of my good friends from my first couple of transfers. I cannot tell you how weird it is to be in the same building that you start in.  
Because of the friendships from the Man South ward, Elder Smart and I snagged a Tea Appointment off of an Angolan Family that I know pretty well. Africans always feed you well. 
Because I don't have much else to report on and today we have a bit more time to spend in the office, I'll share a little bit about what I have been studying...
I have been studying the differences and connections between Doctrine, Principle, and Application or Behavior. It is something that President Kopiscke shared with us when he visited, and I believe it originally come from Elder Bednar. He talks about it in his recent book Increase in Learning. (birthday present?) 
It was again touched upon in our Ward Conference yesterday by the Stake President.
Its been layed out a little like this: 
Doctrine/ The "Why"/ The Vision    -- ex. Eternal Families
Principle/ The "What"/ The Goals   -- ex. Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood/ Marriage
Behaviour/ The "How"/ The Plans   -- ex. Worthiness
One of my favorite quotes from Preach My Gospel is from President Packer:
"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviour. The study of doctrines of the gospel will improve behaviour quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
Truth and doctrines are absolute and do not change. Opinions, beliefs and relative ideas will not change it. It is a straight line, never wavering. On the other hand our behavior seems to wander and change in relation to our understanding. It's no mistake that missionaries on missions are honorable and valiant. We learn, live, and teach doctrine. Therefore our attitudes and behaviors change, simply because for some of us we finally "get it", we start to understand what are parents and church leaders have been trying to tell us all these years.
I have seen this happen in my missionary work with investigators. Earlier on in my mission while teaching a lesson on the Word of Wisdom I would find myself just explaining to the investigator "Don't drink", "Don't smoke". I would try and change their behavior and focus more on their actions rather than stressing the doctrine or the "why". Now as I have explained the importance of the Holy Ghost, and stressing that our body is a temple for it to dwell they start to put in the effort to make changes, sometimes even drastic changes. All because they are starting to understand a simple doctrine. We are to teach doctrine first, because that is what God does. (see Alma 12:32)
To sum it up, here is a quote from President Uchtdorf's talk "Forget-Me-Not" from last Relief Society Conference.. and his thought on the "why"...
"Sometimes, in the routine of our lives, we unintentionally overlook a vital aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ, much as one might overlook a beautiful, delicate forget-me-not. In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.
While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.

Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.
The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."
Have a good week!
Elder Eliason
Some Talks I recommend for Dallin: 
I don't remember which ones I have already given but here are a few:
The Candle of the Lord - Boyd K. Packer
Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father - Maxwell
There are some others that pertain to missionaries particularly that were given at various Mission President Seminar's and MTC Devotionals. I'll be sure to give them when get back.

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