Tuesday, August 9, 2016



*I just spent 10 minutes helping the old man next to me in the library post an article from the internet on facebook...cute*

The most important things that happened:
1. I learned some Italian words from the Italian Elder. "Ketaggiadich" and "Boveramme!"...nice. #ItalianSlang
2. We have determined that I have a mild case of carpal tunnel in my hand...my thumb has been numb for a solid week now. :( no biggie.
3. We went to the temple! Sister Russell was there too so we got a really good "Generations Pic" (see attached). As always, the temple trip was filled with lots of revelation and peace and happiness. I'm going to leave it at that.

This, however, is the most important thing that happened this week and I will be focusing the remainder of my email on it:

This morning I finished the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time ever in my whole life. I also finished the last page of my study journal this morning as well. It's really interesting to me that I finished them both on the same day, and for some reason it's a really bitter-sweet feeling. I can't put my finger on why yet. But! As I finished the last verse this morning, I did the classic "Moroni's Challenge" thing of kneeling down and asking God if the Book was true. I also asked God to help me understand what the biggest lessons were that He wanted me to learn through my study of the Book of Mormon over the past 7 months.

The following is what God taught me by the power of the Holy Ghost this morning and is a culmination of the most important lessons I learned from this copy of the Book of Mormon: (please excuse my brain vomit of quotes, thoughts and scriptures)

1. The whole purpose and design of our existence is for us to be HAPPY. 2 Nephi 2:25

2. We have been sent here to earth to be changed and reborn into someone that is and will become like our Heavenly Father. God's whole purpose is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. Moses 1:39

3. God gave us the wonderful gift of agency to help us grow and progress back to him. 2 Nephi 2:27

4. The biggest thing I learned of all though is how God specifically speaks to me and how important it is for EVERYONE to gain a testimony of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost for ourselves.

Moroni 7:16 - "The Spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil...everything that inviteth and enticeth to do good is sent forth by the power of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."

D&C 8:2 - "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost...this is the spirit of revelation." God will ALWAYS teach us in a reasonable and revelatory way. He is a perfect God with a perfect knowledge, and He knows how to specifically teach each of His children individually. He wants to teach us and is so ready and willing to communicate to us. The trick is for us to figure out His language of speaking to each of us...

Moroni 10:5 - "By the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the TRUTH of all things."  We can only gain a sure, unwavering, rock-solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit--not by man, not purely by thoughts...only through communication with God through prayer and the Spirit.

Why is it important?
*"We can only bear witness of what we know. We can't testify of a wish or a hope or even a belief. We cannot stand as a witness of Jesus Christ unless we can bear witness of Him...You are here now because in the beginning our Father chose you to be here now. He has hard work for you to do."

How have I strengthened my faith on a mission so I can 'defend the faith'' in the future?
I have become an honest seeker of TRUTH. Questions about the gospel do not frighten me like they use to-they have taught me how to rely on the spirit, confirm answers by the spirit and therefore trust in God so much more. I have learned how to receive personal revelation through engaging myself in a *"spiritual wrestle".

*"Questions are not just good, they are VITAL, because the ensuing spiritual wrestle leads to answers, to knowledge, and to revelation. And it also leads to greater faith." Through asking our spiritual questions to God, we are growing, and thereby fulfilling our Father's glorious purpose of bringing to pass our immortality and eternal life.

*"We all know that human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter the most in life. We NEED revelation from God...Every truth-seeking member of the church can and should be receiving revelation for his own life."

I know that over the last 7 months, God has truly taught me the language of revelation. I now know that ** "a casual understanding of the gospel will not sustain us through the days ahead, which is why it is imperative that we immerse ourselves in the word of God."

I can say with absolute confidence that I have gained a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through asking questions of God, seeking an answer from Him through the scriptures and prayer and that He has given me answers by the power of the Holy Ghost. My testimony is not based on anyone else's, I do not "blindly follow"-I have prayed, I have lived it, and I know that God has answered me and I cannot back down. I have not yet mastered recognizing His voice every time, or following it right away, but I am getting better and I will not deny what I know.

I was reading in Hebrews 10:32 and 35 and Paul is talking to the Hebrews about not giving up on what they once knew. I feel like this is applicable to anyone anywhere, no matter what state of testimony you find yourself in. He says, "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. CAST NOT AWAY THEREFORE YOUR CONFIDENCE, which hath great recompense of reward."

We all know that after really great spiritual moments in our lives, the Adversary is always going to try to make us think what we know isn't true. He is dead-set on dragging us down to misery, just as he is. *** "Once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it, and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts. Don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Stay the course, and see the beauty of life unfold for you." God will always be willing to teach you when you sincerely want to know. And when you get an answer, DO NOT RETREAT. DON'T GIVE IN. Remember what the Spirit feels like and hold fast to that feeling.(Moroni 7:16)

D&C 128:22 - "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage brethren, and on, on to the victory!"

I echo Sheri Dew's invite and encourage everyone to do the same:

* "Decide today that you will pay the price to wrestle with difficult questions, to become lifetime seekers of truth, to learn to speak the Lord's language and to receive a witness of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel."

It's okay to have questions.
It's okay to ask God.
It's okay to search for answers.
We cannot afford not to.

Have a good week, y'all!
Sister Lawson


* "Will You Engage in the Wrestle?"--Sheri Dew
** "You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory"--Sheri Dew
*** "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"--Jeffrey R. Holland

1. Candid Grandma, Mom and Daughter <3
2. Roomie Pic with good lighting.

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