Monday, January 18, 2016


Our mission presidents, President and Sister Poulsen, are leaving us this week. They finished their two years of service, and are now going home! This Sunday at church they gave their farewell address.

What was most interesting was when President Poulsen talked about how what we do as missionaries in not just baptism, but repentance and baptism. Since coming out on the mission I haven't had a lot of opportunities in divulging in studying for personal interests, but while I was in the MTC I discovered the gem that is Alma 42. It had been in the back on my mind for a long time, but this week I finally got the chance to pick it apart and study it thoroughly. A brief summation of what I learned is this: We become gods and experience eternal happiness by knowing good and evil, experiencing reward and punishment. That punishment is inflicted by "remorse of conscience", which we innately possess. The purpose of a church is to help us acknowledge and resolve that "remorse of conscience", because without first acknowledging and exposing that pain and remorse (through repentance), we can never move forward and repair. 

Repentance is such a scary word, but really it's part of the process of healing. It's like ripping a band-aid. The band aid feels fine when it's on your skin. You don't have to look at the ugly wound, but it's a temporary fix. Inside your open wound is rotting and pussing. If you swallow your fears and rip off that band-aid, your wound can breathe and eventually heal completely. 

Church isn't our religion. Membership isn't our religion. Making nice friends isn't our religion. Our religion is repentance, it is healing the soul, it is facing the things that are scary and uncomfortable in life, fixing them, and moving on to happiness. It is helping people understand what is right and wrong, and why there are things they do in life that make them sad. It is helping people figure out their conscience which was given from God. It is being the support for others as face their own spiritual monsters. 

Fun fact about why I finally got to study Alma 42: I was talking to two young gentlemen in the South Visitor's center one day and our conversation got pretty deep. One of the gentlemen had the concern that God was important, but religion is not, and that it's just a man-made institution of rules and "sins". I don't even know why I said this, but I said, "If I told you to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, would you read it? I think you'd like it. It has so much information, and it talks about so many things; the purpose of life, who God really is, and what the heck we're all doing here." 
"What's the chapter?" 
"It's Alma 42. Here you can look at the summary..."
"You know what this makes me think of? Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There's this one thematic question in the book, which is 'What is the purpose of life?' and in the book it says the answer is '42'. Noone in the general audience really gets it, but I guess now we've solved it." 

Sister Takeshige

Zone party last p-day:

I am not very photogenic, but this is the only photographic evidence I have that I spoke mandarin in front of people yesterday: 

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