From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 5:35 AM
Hey people I love!
I got some fun stuff before I get to the spiritual stuff. In Elder’s Quorum meeting, where everyone seems to try to one-up the other by asking increasingly complicated (and usually very foolish) questions, I (internally) lost it when someone asked “Who gave Adam and Eve authority to become mortal?”
I conducted my first baptism interviews as a District Leader on Friday! They both had strong testimonies and I could feel how much they believed in the Church and in Jesus Christ. One was a Muslim and the other was a Catholic, both difficult converts. Both had amazing stories. I wanted to cry as they bore their testimonies to me. I want to be DL forever.
This week was hard for me. I struggled by having all of my faults laid bare to me all at once on Monday evening and Tuesday. It really put a dent in my enthusiasm until Thursday when I went on exchange with Elder Jones. I told him about how my imperfections seemed like too much to handle. I felt that I needed to change all at once. It was really destroying me inside. Elder Jones gave me some pretty sage advice. In effect, he said this:
“Realizing your problems is the first step in repentance. Knowing your faults means you are coming closer to Christ. You see how imperfect you are compared to how perfect He is. That shouldn’t be demoralizing. It should be motivating. You know what you need to change. Now do it.”
I thought about that a lot over this week. I remembered Moses’ experience after visiting with God in Moses 1:10 “…Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” I also read an Ensign talk from October 1989 titled “A Mighty Change of Heart” by President Benson. A point in there really touched me. He said:
“…We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.
But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20)
We must not lose hope. Hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Satan would have us cast away that anchor. In this way he can bring discouragement and surrender. But we must not lose hope. The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him. Though we may see that we have far to go on the road to perfection, we must not give up hope.”
Life can be overwhelming sometimes (a lot of the time), but our basic purpose is to change our natures through the Atonement. I realized, again, that I can’t become perfect in one day. But I can try every day. This is a gospel of change and a gospel of mercy. I love my Savior.