November 11, 2013
EL MENSAJERO #20 – 11 nov 2013
MENSAJE DEL PRESIDENTE Y HERMANA COOK
WHAT WILL BRING THEM BACK? ElMensajero #20 – 11 Nov. 2013
We continue to rejoice in your efforts to find new investigators and to bring back those that have grown cold in the gospel. Your efforts indeed are yielding an impressive harvest. We are seeing activity levels and attendance swell across the mission. We all realize that in some ways rescuing the less active can be a much more challenging work because the reasons for one’s inactivity are many and varied. We have all heard such reasons: ¨I am not worthy to associate with the Church.¨ ¨I was offended by someone.¨ ¨The Church is not a priority for me right now.¨ ¨I am too busy.¨ ¨The Church asks too much of me.¨ ¨I no longer believe.¨ It is always important to listen to the reasons and try to understand before trying to help someone overcome the challenges in their life.
Many of our less active brothers and sisters look at other members and think their lives are perfect and that they just will not fit in because their life seems to be full of challenges. When I was called as a bishop I would often sit on the stand and look at the congregation. On the surface it looked like a calm sea. I very soon learned that beneath the surface there was a tumult of difficulties being faced by almost every individual and family. I learned that regardless of the strength of one’s testimony, calling,economic condition or family status the challenges and stresses of life are universal. They just come in different sizes, shapes and seasons of one’s life. But come they do.
If there is one universal truth I have learned is that the Lord loves lost and broken things. Just think of the stories and parables of the scriptures that illustrate this: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the laborers in the vineyard, the woman taken in adultery, the thief on the cross, the calling of Saul, the conversion of Alma, etc. It is very clear that God loves lost and broken things. Why? Because we all fall short. But he promises us that our ¨brokenness¨ can be fixed and that the lost can be found. Above all broken things theLord loves most a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He says give me your broken heart and I will give it back to you healed. Grace is the healing, the finding and fixing process.
So how do we best help our lost brothers and sisters find the joy of healing that the Gospel brings? Often it is our tendency to create a program to address the problem. Pretty soon we have an unmanageable program that has a life of its own and is not truly blessing the lives it was intended to serve. This has always been the case. Jacob wrote of this in his day and said ¨. . . many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Laminates to the knowledge of the truth; but it was all vain. . .¨ Jacob 7:24. So what is the answer? Do we just sit back and say ¨well that is just too bad, nothing we can do will change a thing.¨ NO, NEVER! So what works, what should we do?
In addition to all of our one on one personal efforts as guided by the spirit (DC 84:106), in my experience there is one and only one thing that works, the power of pure doctrine!
¨. . . for unto such shall ye continue to minister, for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them, and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.¨ 3 Nephi 18:32
Among those pure doctrines that make a difference is the doctrine of grace. It is through grace that we are saved and healed. It is through grace that we overcome our challenges and it is through grace that we help others come back and be healed through the atoning blood of Christ. We promise you as you come to understand and apply grace in your own life you will be more effective in becoming a disciple of the Savior and in helping others to do the same. So please continue to minister for we truly know not what the Lord has in mind for them. We love each one of you.
President and Sister Cook (no relation to Danielle 😉)