Letter to a Missionary

This letter was written to a Senior Missionary called to a CES mission.

Dear (name withheld),
As I was preparing for a sunday school lesson earlier this year on the Book of Mormon I discovered from Section 109 (dedicatory prayer for the Kirkland Temple) that the LDS church is counted among the gentiles.  In fact, Joseph, continually taught that the LDS church was a gentile church.  This shed new light on the Book of Mormon, I had always assumed that membership in the LDS church assured us of adoption into the house of Israel.  I understand now that is more a admonition then promise of adoption.  When I read the Book of Mormon I see that the gentiles don’t do so well, or their churches.  When I read 2 Nephi 28 I see that Nephi in fact saw our day our people, even our church.  
 
In 3 Nephi 16:6-7 it says:

“And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.  Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

There should be no doubt that Joseph Smith taught the fulness of the Gospel.  However if you continue reading, you will read the following in 3 Nephi 16:10-11:

“And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.  And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.”

So to recap, the Gentiles that are given the fulness of the Gospel (this can be no one else then those who received the fulness from Joseph Smith), will sin against it and reject it.  AND GOD WILL BRING IT FROM THEM, TAKE IT AWAY, REMOVE IT.  I had never understood these verses before.  All of the sects of Mormonism that spurred from the restoration, have rejected the fulness of the Gospel.  

3 Nephi is the pinnacle of the Book of Mormon, it is the purpose of the whole book.  This is central to what Christ taught to the Nephites.  

As Marie and I have been on this journey, to believe the scriptures, the ones that do not change, Gods Holy words.  We have found many traditions, beliefs and doctrines that are not constant with the Church.  We were not even aware of these beliefs we held were wrong.  We have been true and faithful to all we knew to be true.  But as we have diligently sought Zion, our eyes have been opened.  

We ask ourselves often, if we lived in Joseph’s day would we believe his words? Would we leave home and family to gather with the saints, to hear the prophets words? But even more, would we act on his words? He pleaded with the saints to go speak to God.  I own all three volumes of his Journals from 1828-1844.  The subject of the saints inability to seek God was on his mind often.    

In the last six months, I have been blessed to associate and know 5 separate individuals who powerfully have declared the fulness of the Gospel and that they have been personally visited by our Savior.  I hear there words and I feel the power that they posses in bearing true testimony of our Savior.  They are all experiencing persecution to one degree or another, they are fish out of water.  They are people like you and I, people who have asked God to “help thou my unbelief”.  Over time, they have been visited by Jesus Christ.  None of them are asking for a following, a movement, or to do anything but exhort us to seek the face of God ourselves.  They preach the commandments of God as contained in the scriptures.  Sometimes what they say is hard to hear, it offends my natural man.  But my spirit rejoices.  I have not yet heard a single one reveal anything that is not contained in the scriptures, in fact they take you there often to teach you God’s word.  To encourage us to figuratively “go onto the Mount” to see God.  

I envy you being on a Mission.  To be able to dedicate yourself full time in the service of God.  I hope as you are teaching your students in influencing where you can that you teach students to seek God.  Someday, the fulness of gentiles will be upon us, if it is not already.  We will once again be given a choice, will we listen to the gospel? Will we gather with the saints? Will we seek God’s face so we can bring about Zion?

“Lord, Help Thou My Unbelief”, I have uttered these words in my prayers more and more.  I carry so much unbelief.

Taylor Johnatakis

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