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Until the day I die

On Fast Sundays, instead of a full-length article, I write what I call a “fast thoughts” post. A short, unplanned look into a quick lesson I learned from the Book of Mormon. Enjoy.


I loved the second area of my mission. The Bishop was totally on board with missionary work. The ward mission leader was a rock star. The ward was warm and accepting. And the boundaries were large enough to stave off knocking on someone’s door more than once every 2 months or so (this was back in the day when tracting was almost all missionaries ever did). It was really awesome– definitely one of the highlights of my whole mission.

I was there a long time. I spent 6 months (and 5 companions) in that ward. But no matter how awesome an area is, you can still burn out.

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Taking advantage of trials

I have a confession to make. On my mission, I didn’t agree with a certain part of the missionary manual. But before you stone me for heresy, hear me out, and I’ll tell you how that changed.

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Joy. It's our purpose

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you today? How about the past week? The past year? Or overall? Would you (and those around you) consider you to be a generally happy person overall? Maybe you’re just not a “happy” kind of person. Maybe you’re not a total grump, but maybe on the overall personality spectrum, you’re a bit closer to the Mr. Grinch end than the Relief Society President end. Maybe you’re holding out hope that you would be eventually happy. You know, once your sons have returned from their missions. And your quorum takes their ministering assignments seriously. And your husband stops leaving the toilet seat up. Or maybe you’re just enduring life right now and looking forward to that day of release when you will finally be able to rest in eternal felicity in heaven because sure then you will be happy, right?

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The remembrance cycle

I like listening to my dad tell stories from his time in the army. One thing he observed is that the drill sergeants he had were very much like the drill sergeants you see in the movies: insulting, swearing, and strict almost to the point of abusive. And he saw why. Although my dad was a married, returned missionary with 2 kids when he enlisted in the army, the rest of his group were 18 and 19-year old boys. And they acted the part. The primary goal in basic training is to crush you and try and get as much of the silliness and horseplay out of you as possible.

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Something's missing

I’m in the middle of the saddest part of the Book of Mormon. Throughout the latter half of 3 Nephi, Christ ushers in a period of peace and national righteousness that gives us modern readers a little preview of the Millenium. Then, 3 Nephi ends, and by the end of the very next chapter, the Nephites are largely corrupt and ripe for their final destruction. No gradual decline this time– they come out in open rebellion against God, the day of grace is past, and you know this is the end of the end. Each time I read the story of their self-destruction in my studies, it feels more sad and sickening than the last. This time through, I noticed some interesting details from the war accounts from Mormon 2 that I had overlooked before.

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It's never just a little

A few particular points of the law

In 67 or 66 BC, the Nephites had things pretty good. As far as the miilitary goes, they’d been winning wars left an right. And they didn’t even lose a single soldier in the most recent battle. Plus, things were great at home, too. They’d built a lot of cities and there were peace and prosperity in the land:

And in these prosperous circumstances were the people of Nephi in the commencement of the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

And they did prosper exceedingly, and they became exceedingly rich; yea, and they did multiply and wax strong in the land.

Nothing could go wrong! I mean, sure, there was a land dispute Moroni had to resolve, but aside from that minor skirmish, everything seemed to be going really well leading up to Alma 51

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