Wednesday, March 9, 2011

President's letter February 2011

Dear Elders and Sisters:

You may be aware that one of my favorite quotes regarding missionary work comes from President Brigham Young, he stated, “I have Zion in my view constantly. We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it.” (Discourses of Brigham Young. Pp. 443-444)

Brigham Young had vision; he understood well the words, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18). . He never lost sight of his “purpose” in building the kingdom of God. He also understood the difference between testimony and true conversion.

We often speak of individuals who recently entered the waters of baptism as new converts. However, we know there is a difference between having a testimony and true conversion. Conversion is a longer process and always takes action. Conversion is more than a belief or a testimony.

Many believe accepting Christ as our Savior will save us. However, James reminds us that we must be doers of the word, and not hearers only lest we deceive ourselves. (James 1:22). Think of where you were before your missions. You may have had a testimony back home, but today, the daily discipline of prayer, scripture study, and proselytizing in spite of the obstacles, have enlightened your minds and hearts with greater understanding of the Savior and His Atoning sacrifice. Therefore, you press forward in faith every day. This is evidence that you are becoming more fully converted.

President Marion G. Romney explained the difference between testimony and conversion as he taught: “Membership in the Church and conversion are not necessarily synonymous. Being converted and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing either. A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth. A moving testimony vitalizes faith. That is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments. Conversion is the fruit or the reward for repentance and obedience.”

He continued, “Converted means to turn from one belief or course of action to another. Conversion is a spiritual and moral change. Converted implies not merely mental acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in him and his gospel. A faith which works a transformation, an actual change in one’s understanding of life’s meaning and in his allegiance to God in interest, in thought, and in conduct. In one who is wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died, and substituted therefore is a love of God with a fixed and controlling determination to keep His commandments.”

“Conversion is the fruit or the reward for repentance and obedience. Conversion is the result of, or the fruit of, faith and repentance and obedience. Conversion is affected by divine forgiveness, which remits sins and heals the spirit. Remittance of sins is the therapy which heals… Remittance of sins and healing are the same thing.” (Marion G. Romney, General Conference Oct 1963 )

Did it ever occur to you that you are spiritual therapists?

The counsel the Savior gave to Peter applies to each of us, “when thou are converted strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32).

I pray the Lord will guide each of you in your journey of Discipleship, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

President Perry

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