President Anderson’s Last Letter of 2013

Happy New Year to All Who Read This…Often I just include the spiritual missionary experiences that the president shares in his letters. However this one includes his thoughts on our commitment as we start a new year. The message was important to me and I hope that those who read this will find it so for them…Enjoy!

“Happy New Year Missionaries,

This being a time of “renewing”, “resolutions”, and “recommitting”, I often think of the great resolutions that come from the great prophets in the scriptures. One of the greatest was Nephi when he resolved:

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7)

Most sincere resolutions begin with the words “I will” because it has more power and conviction that we will actually achieve it.  That is one of the reasons we use the words “will you” as we help investigators make commitments. The answer “I will” is a strong answer of the commitment or “resolution” they make. The person that uses the term, “I will”, and rarely accomplishes the task, is one that doesn’t understand the importance of the pledge or oath that is made. In the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, the term “as the Lord liveth” is used many times to emphasize this promise or resolution. Nephi amplifies his resolution later in the same chapter when he says:

“But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.” (1 Nephi 3:15)

The term “as the Lord liveth” united the great Prophets and missionaries in a partnership with God in carrying out the resolution. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explains it well:

“Nephi made God his partner. If he failed to get the plates, it meant God had failed. And because God does not fail, it was incumbent upon Nephi to get the plates or lay down his life in the attempt” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference Apr. 1982)

When people are properly taught, they rarely will fall away if they make and live those commitments and resolutions. When the oath was made in proper teaching in The Book of Mormon, there was a three way partnership made with the investigators, the teachers, and God:

“And as sure as the Lord liveth [that is an oath], so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth [a second oath], as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away” (Alma 23:6).

We also learn in the scriptures that The Lord will make commitments or resolutions to bless us or punish us for our commitment or resolution (or lack of). A few examples in the scriptures are:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 5:28)

 “Therefore, saith the Lord: I will not utterly destroy them, but I will cause that in the day of my wisdom they shall return again unto me, saith the Lord… And now behold, saith the Lord, concerning the people of the Nephites: If they will not repent, and observe to do my will, I will utterly destroy them, saith the Lord, because of their unbelief notwithstanding the many mighty works which I have done among them; and as surely as the Lord liveth shall these things be, saith the Lord.” (Helaman 15:16-17)

“As often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit… Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.” (D&C 6:14,20

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee… [Again in verse 13]… I will help thee… [Again in verse 14]… I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14)

God always comes through and resolves to bless us as we ourselves commit and make resolutions to Him. Brigham Young teaches us that as we do our utmost best in those resolutions, in our aligning with God’s will, He will step in and help us accomplish it:

“I have learned years ago that the Lord stands at the helm that guides Zion’s ship. … Unless we work exactly to the line that is marked out by him, our works will be in vain. This has been my experience from the beginning. In every branch and avenue of our lives we must learn to work to the line of truth. It is for us to know what ought to be done, and then do it. Though there should be no earthly prospect of accomplishing it, we can certainly try; and if we try with all our might, that act will prove at least a resolute and determined mind, adorned with patience and perseverance. And if, with all our resolute endeavors we are still unable to accomplish our purpose, the Lord will be very likely to stretch forth his hand and give the victory” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 441).

The Lord will bless us as we are resolute in opening our mouths to everyone:

“We went harvesting … the other day and found an incredible lady walking her dog down the street in the dark. After we said the prayer she looked up with tears in her eyes and told us that she knew that God sent us to her. She told us to follow her back to her house to offer a prayer for her daughter… then she took us to her cousin’s house and said, ‘You have to get a prayer from these church people!’ She was determined to let us pray with everyone she knew! If it was up to her, we would have prayed with everyone in the neighborhood! She is amazing and we are excited to help her progress towards baptism.”

The Lord will bless us to teach with power as we open our mouths to everyone:

“The other day, we were out walking and we saw this woman walking her dog with her 3 kids. We went over and started talking to them. They loved the prayer we offered and when we invited them to be baptized, the mom said how it’s something she knows she needs to do but never done. Then the kids asked us what baptism is. We explained how we make mistakes in our life but when we are baptized, it’s like taking a bath and all our mistakes are washed away. The kids then turned to their mom and said,’Oh mom!! Can we do that! Please!?’ The mom said, ‘Of course we will do that! We need to go to church first to get ready!’ They are all planning to get baptized on the 5th! As we followed the promptings of the spirit, we were able to find the elect!!!”

The Lord will “stretch forth His hand and give the victory” as we do all we can and open our mouths to everyone:

“Starting with Wednesday transfer day, we needed six more blessings to reach eight by Wednesday. My companion had a great complex picked out and as we got there we got the first four easily and 2 of them were amazing spiritual blessings. We had soo much faith after those four blessings and we knew we were going to get the next two easily! As we continued nobody was answering and when they did they refused the blessing! It was so strange… An hour had almost gone by without any more blessings. We were determined to keep going until we could get at least two more. We finally decided to pray. We were running out of time. After the prayer we were lead to a door which was an awesome lady, our fifth blessing and an amazing referral. Sadly by the time that blessing was over we had run out of time. We needed to get home. As were walking back to our car we were scanning the parking lot for someone to contact… nobody…. We decided to say another prayer asking the Lord what we should do. We wanted to reach eight by Wednesday so badly but we needed to be obedient and home on time as well. After the prayer we all looked up and my companion asked ‘well, have we done all we could do?’ … it was that very second that I saw movement in the corner of my eye. It was a person! A guy walking down a little hidden walkway on the edge of the parking lot. We all without any words headed straight to him… he was awesome! He knew God sent us to him that very moment! We had an amazingly spiritual blessing with him and he accepted everything! That night my faith grew sooo much. I was soo humbled and happy as we offered a prayer of gratitude.”

President Uchtdorf teaches us the importance of making resolutions and reaching our potential:

“[A] regret people express was that they failed to become the person they felt they could and should have been. When they looked back on their lives, they realized that they never lived up to their potential, that too many songs remained unsung…. I am speaking of becoming the person God, our Heavenly Father, intended us to be… Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence… Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient? Would it not be wiser for us to ‘lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal’?  How do we do this? By following the example of the Savior, by incorporating His teachings in our daily lives, by truly loving God and our fellowman… We certainly cannot do this with a dragging-our-feet, staring-at-our-watch, complaining-as-we-go approach to discipleship… As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be… We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness… The path toward fulfilling our divine destiny as sons and daughters of God is an eternal one. My dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, we must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference October 2012)

3 thoughts on “President Anderson’s Last Letter of 2013

  1. Melinda Schneider

    Thank you for posting these! I really enjoy reading them because they help me feel closer to my daughter who is serving there in the FFLM, and they increase my faith in the Lord and His great work.

    Best wishes for you and your family in 2014.

    1. Bill Post author

      Thank you for you comment. I see your daughter is serving down in the Homestead zone with sister Garcia. They should be a great companionship. When is she due to be released?

      1. Melinda Schneider

        In April. I’m always amazed at how fast the time goes by. What a great experience for all of us.


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