Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 2011 President's Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters:

I know you enjoyed general conference as much as I did. I’m grateful for the opportunity we had to be inspired and taught by prophets, seers, and revelators. The Doctrine and Covenants gives us of the “why” we gather together in conferences. “

And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when you are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given. And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me.” (D&C 43:8-9)

We also receive instruction from the brethren through church magazines, “Preach My Gospel” and the white “Missionary handbook”. On page 3 of the missionary handbook, we are reminded of the sacred nature of our call to serve; we read, “You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. You will also be expected to devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs”. This promise then follows: “As you do these things, the Lord will bless you and you will become an effective advocate and messenger of the truth.”

It’s in this vein that I wish to address a concern that is emerging in the Virginia, Richmond mission. I’m worried that the success we are experiencing could be compromised, as we become too casual in following the counsel of the prophet and apostles.

As you know, I have allowed IPODs in the mission, but far too many have reconnected to a life back home that was supposed to be left behind. This creates tremendous internal conflict as we try to keep one foot in the mission and one foot back home. Additionally, the mission rule to be within “sight and hearing” of your companion is compromised, when your companion has no clue as to what you are doing or accessing on your IPOD. This creates stress and conflict within a companionship and the power of unity is lost.

Therefore, effective immediately, the Virginia, Richmond mission will become once again, an IPOD free mission. You may use an older version MP3 player or IPOD but it should have no internet access, and then should only be used in the morning and left in the apartment after 10:00 am. It may also be used on preparation day but must meet the guidelines in the white missionary handbook. Generally, this will mean only approved music.

I am also concerned about letter writing, phone calls and texting. Some believe if I give a “one time exception” to a request, this means I would approve it again. Please, when in doubt, ask your district leaders, zone leaders, or the assistants to the president.

Additionally, for the next two months, I would be grateful if you will include the study of the white handbook during companionship study time. This should not be your sole study but make time each day until you have read it cover to cover. I would like each of you to re-familiarize yourselves with the words of the prophets, seers and revelators that you may become more fully instructed in the law and become sanctified through this process. Then commit to bind yourselves to act in all holiness before the Lord, as His authorized servants, and let us continue to claim the associated blessings with obedience to His laws.

Remember, we can access the power of obedience and unity (D&C 107:27) and be a witness to the promise the Savior made to His disciples, that through this unity, the world may know that the Father has sent His Son (John 17:21).

I know the Lord will bless our individual and collective efforts as we follow Him with full purpose of heart; of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

President Perry