Each week I send an e-mail, I believe I keep talking about how dead the square has been. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I kicked off my time at Temple Square with the worst human tsunami known to man (General Conference), but it doesn't make it any less true each time I say it. It has been the deadest of dead this week. One morning, Sister Burgoyne and I were covering a desk assignment in the North Visitor's Center, and we probably saw 5 people the entire hour, three of them being janitors.But that's okay, because it means that we got to do transfers really smoothly. So many people ask, so I'll just tell you all: at Temple Square, when you do transfers, you really do just move down the hall of your apartment building. Sometimes you don't even move at all. Sister Burgoyne and I switched zones, but didn't have to pack a single bag. We are now in the East 2 Zone, which means we have an assignment of being in the Beehive House this transfer!
The Beehive House was the home of Brigham Young and his family and the beginnings of Church administration. We have three hour shifts in the house, every other day, and we get to show guests around the house and teach both history and gospel to guests who are willing to listen (and obligated to, since they're stuck in teeny hallways with missionaries). While there aren't tours, we stay in the back room and study the site guide which is 2000 pages long. A sister told me once, "once I was finished with reading the site guide, I was done with the transfer serving in the house." Hopefully It won't take me that long to get through it. Some interesting things that I learned about Brigham Young and the church while reading the site guide:
1. He was not only Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was also first governor of Utah and also Superintendent of Indian Affairs. My favourite quote by him as Superintendent: "Their sense of matters and things differs so much from ours that we often find it difficult to bear with their indignities and ignorance... What to us is a deep insult and outrage, to them is a small matter, while a thing of minor importance to us becomes to them a thing of great moment. Why should men have a disposition to kill a destitute, naked, Indian, who may steal a shirt or a horse and thinks it no harm, when they never think of meting out a like retribution to a white man who steals, although he has been taught better?" Doing pretty good for a white man in the 1850's.
2. The state of Utah was originally commissioned to be called the State of Deseret. Deseret, or beehives, were a symbol that the Young family really treasured. Beehives represent perfect unity and cooperation, and that was what the early Mormon pioneers really emphasized. However, the name "Deseret" eventually wasn't approved and was instead named "Utah" After the Ute tribe that was there before them. The University of Utah for many years, was called the University of Deseret.
3. Brigham Young was raised Methodist, but was spiritually unsatisfied. "What have you learned from Lorenzo Dow (Methodist preacher)? Nothing, nothing but morals." He received a copy of the Book of Mormon and read it many times over the course of two years, but it was not until a "pure and simple testimony of common men, "whose testimony was like fire in my bones." He recalled that, regarding the "brethren who came to preach the gospel to me," he could easily outtalk them." But "if all the talents, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been combined in one individual, and that one person had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by his learning and worldly wisdom, it would have been to me like the smoke which arises, only to vanish." However, it was only after he "saw a man without eloquence, of talents for public speaking, who could only just say, 'I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true'" that Brigham Young determined to be baptized.
I wish I could just send the site guide to you all. There are so many misunderstandings about Brigham Young that I personally had that I have been elucidated by having the information presented in context. Although there are so many subjects in the Mormon-verse that I never really had a chance to come at peace with before the mission, I am so glad that I put them aside and was able to focus on what really matters, which is Christ and the Atonement. I know with my whole heart that because of that, God has been treating me with these interesting facts and tidbits that put my mind at ease. If any of you back home are struggling with religion, prophets, church culture, or anythingatall, please please remember to refocus. All of these are distractions from what really matters, which is God, Jesus Christ, and your relationship and understanding of Them. Once that it fixed, I promise IpromiseIpromise, everything will not only fall into place, you also won't ever have to take on the burden of figuring out everything on your own.
Another thing that happened this week: I taught a real investigator lesson! Although we get to teach our investigators over the phone, occasionally we get to teach Salt Lake residents in person along with their local missionaries. Two Elders, a member, and their Japanese foreign exchange student came in last night and requested a Japanese sister to help teach. Usually the Elders call Temple Square beforehand to let us know what's going on and what the plan is, but this time they showed up and I was the only Japanese missionary around. It really does feel good getting to teach in person.
And now, a substantial amount of pictures since I never take any:
2. Sister Burgoyne and I take our first selfie together because we realized it was e-mail time today:
3. Second selfie, on the way to Braza's Grill earlier today. Everybody in the Utah area should go there immediately. They beat that other Brazilian grill that everyone goes to in Provo that I currently do not remember the name of. ("Leaving all personal matters behind" to the max)
4. I don't know if minions are still a thing in the real world. Nonetheless, will somebody please forward send this picture to a Brenna Monson?