Saturday, November 30, 2013


11/25/13 Post
Thanks so much for your inspiring words. I didn't have a chance to read them all, but I wanted to thank you in light of our national holiday this week. I can just feel your support and that is overwhelming. I wanted to talk about something else that I am grateful for too besides our family, this church, this Gospel, and my Savior: The Spirit. 
Till my dying day, I will contend with the sword of truth against all the evil, cunning, and false doctrines that mankind teaches that we cannot know spiritual truths from God. Isaiah taught that in the last days "people draw near [to God] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour [him], but have removed their heart far from [him], and their fear toward [Him] is taught by the precept of men" (Isaiah 29:13). The risen Lord reaffirmed this statement to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said that "all their (mankind's) creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (JS-H 1:19). 
What is the power of God that the people today deny? How is it possible that people could draw close to God with their lips, minds, and mouths, but their hearts be far from him? There was a crucial piece of precious doctrine that was lost during the Great Apostasy after the death of the Apostles that answers this question. Let me demonstrate using a few verses: Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right" (D&C 9:7-8). The way that we are to receive revelation from God is to first study it out in our minds and then to ask God if it be right. In meeting with members of another faith I was rocked to my core to hear their methods of coming to know truth: A group of learned men who studied the Bible and came to the conclusion of how to interpret it; evidences of truth through tangible means, proving what is true, - these believers have fulfilled the first part of receiving revelation, but blatantly deny the second part: asking God if our opinion is true. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni reiterates how we can know of truth: First, we must study it out in our minds: 
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
But then comes step 2: 
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; 
And how will we receive an answer?
...and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things...And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; 
Then comes Moroni's clarion call to all the world in defense to the what the prophet Isaiah prophesied:
...wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever. (Moroni 10:3-7)
Though we can have all the evidences in the world of the truth of a mankind-philosophy, it does not make it true. Though we can be like Peter and be around the Savior, seeing all the miracles of God wrought through him, we can only know that He is the Christ from the Father in Heaven Himself, and not through flesh and blood, or mankind's wisdom of our day (see Matthew 16:17). We can come to know eternal truths directly from God. We must study and we must ask. I know he will answer. This is one truth that I am immensely grateful for this Thanksgiving day. It's a promise to all. 
I love you from Ukraine!  Happy Thanksgiving!
Hey Mom! 
I think that in all reality it is a huge blessings that our days don't go on unlimited and that we have only a limited amount of time every day and on the earth. If not, we would not have the same necessity to really learn what matters most, not being able to do it all in the time we are given. We can only do that which is most I guess the seemingly merciless clock that ticks ever on is actually yet another blessing from the Lord. 
In regards to your lesson for relief society...I can only talk from personal experience. I am and have always been a lot harder on myself in life and would beat myself up over things that I did wrong. I'll say that that is not right. The other side of the coin is also just not true either. We can't just go through life without caring and doing what ever we want using our imperfections as excuses to our misbehaviors. There's got to be a balance. The first thing that I would say is something that I realized here on my mission: it is not a sin after making a mistake to say, "Well, lets do better next time." For some reason, I had it ingrained in my mind that the repentance process involved me putting myself in a huge hole and continuing to push myself into more and more punishment for my sins and mistakes until God in His mercy would blast the light back into my life and rip me out of the dark through a very spiritual experience. Until that experience came though, I was fallen and cast off forever. It may sound a little extreme, but that was what subconsciously I was thinking. I think for some reason in the church we often do the same. We must always remember a phrase that capstones a learning experience for me spoken by a member in Donetsk: "The essence of repentance is not in sufferance, but in changing." Let that really sink in to your heart. Unlike what we have somehow come to believe in the church, repentance is not a punishment given from Heavenly Father to force us to do better next time. It is an opportunity to get back up, turn around, shake the dust off (or punishments that come) BY REPENTING, or changing our attitudes, thoughts, and actions to be better next time. If any person sincerely is repenting and turning to the Lord, his heart will be in the right place to say "Okay, let's do better next time," and then do so. We feel godly sorrow when we sin, but we don't need to aggravate it by our own fueling of the flames. 
"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent..." (D&C 19:16)
We need to use the Atonement and Christ sufferings, not put ourselves through that which he already suffered. 
I love you mom! I'm really trying to be better at serving with all my heart, might, mind, and strength...keep praying for us here. I'm far from perfect, and the week was a bit of a dip in diligence for me, but I'm grateful for the milestones that Heavenly Father has sent me along the way of discipleship to Christ, you being one of them :)
I love you!
Elder Claypool


11/18/13 Post
Hey Mom! I don't have much time today, but I wanted to wish you a happy anniversary! As unfortunate as it may be, marriage that last as long as yours has and as well as yours has is rarer and rarer in this life. However, it is fortunate that I am able to bask in the glory of your wonderful example! I only have a few thoughts to share with the time I have left, but I would like to share them with you: This week I was really backed to the wall of my testimony of the divinity of the Savior. We as a church claim the singleness of the path that leads to eternal life whereas the politically correct view of the world seeks to distort that truth by claiming that we all have our own paths to God. I agree that in a sense this statement is true, but we cannot deny the fact that although we all have personal paths that lead to God, our only path must converge with the path of Jesus Christ if we are not only to return to God, but to receive all of his blessings. Satan, our damming enemy, seeks for us to be satisfied with what the Atonement gives us freely, but for us seekers of truth and light, happiness and eternal families, mediocrity and satisfactory just doesn't cut it. I was backed to a wall as I said this week with our investigators claiming the multiplicity of the path, and as representatives of Jesus Christ declaring the singleness of it. My testimony when I went to testify felt weak and without power. I came to the realization that I really didn't have the strongest testimony of the personal role Christ plays in my life. In part though, I didn't really understand what it really means to say "I know that Jesus is the Christ." I guess in my mind I pictured flaming testimony that came from a sacred conviction that Jesus is the Christ and that all who heard my testimony would beg to be baptized and follow him as in the days of Peter...but the Lord in his mercy sent me the answer to my questioning: I need to strengthen my testimony through following the counsel given in D&C 19:23 ( read those words and ponder just how all-encompassing they are to come to know Christ) and that I had more faith than I thought. I quote now some excerpts from Elder Holland's moving general conference talk two sessions ago," Lord I believe...BEAR TESTIMONY OFTEN
"The size of your faith is not the issue - is it the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know."
"Belief was always the first step toward conviction."
"Do not be afraid to ask for response to that kind of importuning God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief."
"Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. IT IS NOT!"
And when looking at all the blessings we have received in our lives from living the Gospel and following Christ, or exercising faith in other words, Elder Holland puts it perfectly "That cannot be denied."
And last but not least: "Hold the ground you have already won."
Our testimonies always need strengthening, but hold to what you have already received and remember that with all your effort in times of trial. I believe that my Savior Jesus Christ is really who the prophets from Adam till now have said he is: Our Savior and the only way we can achieve all the Father has. My belief is strengthened every day as I learn of him, listen to his Spirit, and walk in the meekness of his way. He is the way. And we can all come to know it for ourselves. Its just starts with belief. 
Elder Claypool 


11/11/13 Post
Thanks so much for sharing your story with me from your mission. That's one thing that I wish I did more growing up was heard stories from your mission to get more prepared to serve. This is the biggest learning experience of my life and is causing me to become more and more who I want me to be: Who Heavenly Father wants me to be. That experience with your handicapped friend was very tender to me. I have realized in my hardest times on my mission that the unfailing antidote is often to find someone else who is suffering more than you and help them out. It is just the most amazing thing to strive to serve all those around you. 
This last week was a week of service in many ways, but in ways more than one, we were able to be literal hands of God in answering prayers of others. The first experience this week was with our investigator that has been investigating-ish for fifteen years! He has an incredibly hard heart and it is frustrating at times to talk with him...but the Lord is using us as one of the means to help him out. Can you believe what life would be like if you didn't know that God loved you? He thinks that God does not love him because of his lack of material blessings...but that God doesn't hate him, because he has more than others. One of the most incredible divine interventions of the week was when he came to our meeting, we started talking, and it led to him sharing an experience that was an answer to our prayers and fasting: He was on his computer late at night just downloading pictures for his latest English text book when a spam popped up on his computer asking for 200 Hrivna by a certain date. Michael quickly turned off his computer and then figured he'd turn it back on in the morning. All night however, he was worrying about it and could not sleep. Apparently it was such a worry to him that he felt backed into a corner more than ever before. He got down on his knees and prayed to God stronger than he had ever prayed before to ask if God was there and if he cared enough to help Michael out. During his prayer, Michael described that he felt a quick, fleeting, unexplainable joy fill his heart that quickly left. He recognized it as potentially being the Spirit! Can you imagine it! Our friend that is super hardhearted and the last in the world to budge. He was given a trial that only God knew would drive him to his knees. He is slowly moving forward now that he has gotten a bit of a taste of the Spirit. I absolutely know that this happened by prayer and fasting from many missionaries who have served him. 
This was only one of the many things that happened this week that made us stop, pray, and thank our Heavenly Father. This really is His work as was pointed out in the broadcast this Sunday (Which was amazing!).
There really is no greater purpose in this life than to live for the sake of another. You (parents) do it constantly for us  (children) and sacrifice your time, talents, and means for the bettering of our family, the church, and others around you. You do it with an incredibly willing heart. You are an example to me of charity in its purest, fullest, and yet quietest sense.  Yes, mom's actions are amazing and often end up being seen eventually - though she is humble and doesn't want people to know what she is doing for others or her acts of kindness. Many actions are often unnoticed, quiet, and are recognized long after you have left the premises. I love my parents with all my heart for the example of service you are to me. I think of the things that I witnessed and the things that you did that I never witnessed but heard about through the grapevine - and I am brought to emotional pride in my heart to have a man like you for my dad, and the best mom! Why would you do all you do? From where do you take your courage to continue? It is from your love for each of us that is so unconditional that it is almost unfair. The words of the Savior describe you: 
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13
So I get to end my letter in like-fashion with the man you freely helped: God bless you for all you are as an example to me. I love you. Never doubt that or forget that. I love you for who you are and are becoming too. 
Your Son
The work is going wonderful mom! We were so blessed this week that I can't even count it all! We don't have the conference talks yet because well...we are a little far from the rest of the world ;) We'll get them probably next month or so. That is wonderful to hear about your wonderful missionary experiences and just how much our ward is growing back home. There is really no greater joy than missionary service! 
We have been able to see one less-active woman that the sisters are working with coming pretty regularly back to church and our handful of less-actives are moving forward too! They really do just need love, support, and the Spirit to nudge them back to what they always knew was right in their hearts. We haven't been able to see any baptisms yet, but we have some absolutely incredible investigators that are progressing and really a miracle in their humility and readiness to receive this message from our Heavenly Father. One such is a woman named Olya. She is the daughter of a member that just recently passed away due to her 4th stroke. We had made contact with her as it would so happen on the day that her mom had the stroke. We were able to provide assistance, support, and comfort to help her and her mom out in her trials. We were even able to give her mom a blessing as she laid on the bed writhing in pain. A few days later, Olya's mom passed away leaving her to take care of the funeral service. Again, we were there to help and were able to make almost all the arrangement for the funeral. It was a tender moment to be able to testify of God's magnificent plan of salvation for all of his children and that we will all live again. Death is only a part of the plan. Time settled down a bit and we were able to go over a few days ago to check up on her and really start to help her through this trial with God's comforting truths. Our wonderful member on the lesson was so crucial to befriending her (she actually had known her from before), and helping her realize just what Heavenly Father was doing for Olya: reaching out to her so that she would reach back. We started to talk about prayer as we had planned and asked if she had had any experiences with prayer. She thought for a moment and said she did and then related to us the experience of when her mom had had a stroke, she had injured her back trying to pick her mom up. She was sitting on the couch, not knowing what to do since funds were already so tight, and just hung her head in her arms asking God why he was giving all this to her...that night not long after that, we called. Yes, we did feel that night that we needed to call and were able to be the answer to her prayer and now can help her continue to move closer and closer to her Father in Heaven. He is reaching out to all of us and we can reach back through his restored truths and church on the earth today. She's already referring to our church as her church and wanting to know all that she can in order to head the call that her trial sent to her from God: 
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30
He really does answer our prayers and helps us to move forward in our trials. The question is not whether or not life will break us, because we know that this life is given for us to be changed, reborn, and become like our Heavenly Father, the question is how will we heal? Will we let our broken bones grow back crippled and deformed, or will we take upon our souls the healing balm of the Atonement that will make us into that which our creation was intended? 
I love you mom! I think that I have all that I need for winter so there is no worry there! Plus, there's no snow yet :) Keep praying for these people and the branch!
Elder Claypool


How is work going besides the fact that you are incredibly busy? Was that last letter that you sent to me a copy of your talk? It was phenomenal! I really did use it through out the week. Our unique message to the world is just that: Through a modern-day prophet, the Lord Himself has restored his true plan and the power to fulfill it; He guides that church today through a modern day prophet. This is the message that all need to here.

I really enjoy the message that you sent about the members being the angels that are inviting and preparing the hearts of the people. We play a crucial part in the gathering of Israel in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, allowing all the families of the earth to be blessed. There is no greater use of our time, energy, talents, or hearts than on this great work

I was able to teach a lesson in Priesthood today about the Priesthood and just what a joy it is that we hold it! Can you imagine just what would happen if we all followed the counsel of President Uchtdorf and (1) understood the Priesthood, (2) lived according to the understanding we receive, and (3) continue to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. He made the comparison to a Piper Cub and a F18 and just how they differ in mastery of the laws of aerodynamics; however, the joy of flying was the same. Regardless of where we are or how many/few the priesthood is in our ward/branch, the joy of the Priesthood and the responsibility of the Priesthood are the same. 

It's a real pleasure to be here on my mission and grow...I do need to consecrate myself even more to the work, but I'm not doing too bad of a job serving the Lord - thanks be to Him for His patience in allowing me to make all the mistakes I have and do to get to this point. 
Isn't it wonderful just how the Lord answers our prayers! I think that the most incredible thing about our church and religion that differs from every other church that I have met with here is that we believe that we really can receive revelation. We shouldn't think of revelation as anything strange, visions, etc. (although that does happen); we should remember that revelation is just the simple revealing of truths from God to us. He hears our prayers! What a supernal thought! Can you imagine that all of us sitting here on this world are so small in comparison to the cosmos that our Father in Heaven directs...think of how many of us there are...and yet, he still listens to every sincere prayer of each of his children. 

This week we were able to talk about that a lot! Answers to prayers. We are here as missionaries not to convince anyone to come into the Church, or even to baptize them to increase the numbers of our attendance. We are simply here because of our burning testimony of the truthfulness of this message and all that it contains, inviting all to come to know for themselves. The foundation to any conversion to the Church is not even conversion to the Church at all! It is conversion to Jesus Christ Himself, and a witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. 

In one lesson that we had this week, a man was arguing the ability that we had to come to know truth. His metaphor: there are three blind men who are all around a massive elephant. One grabs the elephant trunk, thinks for a moment and yells "It's a snake!" The second grabs the leg, exclaiming "No, it's a tree!" And the last, grabbing the tail, exclaims "It is neither a tree nor a snake, but something small, skinny and fluffy at the fact, I'm not quite sure at all what it is." And so the world and philosophy looks on the notion of truth today. On the streets and in the circles of mankind wisdom you hear over and over again the words theory, hypothesis, assumption, and hunch. Some go so far as to claim they are true...however with time, or put against other philosophies, the honest seeker of truth just can't seem to wrap their head around it all and often gives up. This last week I was really seeing the fruits of pondering according to my own wisdom. I have to make a point and say that this is important! We must use our heads and ponder, think, hypothesize, decide, etc., but that is thankfully not the end of our quest for truth. 

Like those three men feeling the elephant, there was no way that they could find out what the elephant was due to their lack of abilities. However, our loving Heavenly Father plays the role of the man standing behind the three blind men, waiting to be asked. He sends us messages along the way - a tap on the shoulder, a reminder to ask him, trials to help us turn to him - but in the end we have to ask. I am so grateful for my ever-growing testimony that God really does answer prayers and that we can know truth as it really is. God has called a Prophet today to reveal to us Eternal Truths and has given us the Scriptures to continually solidify that knowledge. However, it is part of God's glorious plan for us all to ask ourselves and receive an answer ourselves. For me, it was a powerful experience to get on my knees for the hundredth time to ask if the Book of Mormon really is from him, if the plan of salvation really is the plan that will govern our existence, and if Jesus really is my Savior. I am pleased to say with wonderful listening, the answer I received is that it is true. All can receive this witness from God through their feelings and impressions that come to our  mind and heart when we ask in faith. To quote the Savior: 

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matt 7:7)

I love you
Elder Claypool

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Plan of Salvation" - 10/28/13

10/28 Post
Unfortunately I don't have much time today, but I'm so grateful for your letter and confidence! It is a liberating thing to be able to be yourself around those who you know love you! 

This last week was absolutely amazing week in that it was all focused on the Plan of Salvation. Some times, a lot of times actually, we forget in the church just what we have. We have the plan that was created by God in its full splendor. Have you ever thought what gives you strength to carry on? What allows you to live through hardships and not give up? We were able to meet with a man this week that literally rocked my understanding of life, of the Gospel, and of the Plan of Salvation. He only wanted a few things in life, received none of them, and more than that, he sees the powers of Satan reigning oh the more terribly as time continues on. I find it hard to believe in a God that would allow such things to happen to His children that he supposedly loves, is what he would say. Because of it, he has become completely hopeless...the thing is that we are all not too far from that in some point of our lives or another. We have hardships and trials that seem to be above our ability or control. The doctrines of freedom of choice, hope, faith, enduring to the end, etc. really lose their appeal when we are going through the fires of affliction. However, in short form I just want to reemphasize basic truths that will help us get through anything if we keep them in our minds and choose to hold to them:

1. God really is our Loving Heavenly Father in the literal sense. Don't let philosophies or difficulties of faith take this precious truth from any of your hearts: We are His children and He loves us. Allow that thought to sink into your heart. What does that mean to know that He really does love you?

2. We are children of God. Within every single one of us is the seeds of godliness just waiting to be kindled and nourished. We have it in us to do all things with our Father's help/ Think about that. 

3. God created us to become like Him. This is the fundamental truth that answers the question of our existence: We are created and exist to become as our Father in Heaven, to receive all His blessings, to live in our eternal families, and to continue to progress throughout the eternities. We are not some kind of crude experiment or level with the animals created around us. We are created to become like Him. Think about that. 

4. Our progression depends completely, solely, and wholly on who? Us. We are the ones that have to choose. In all reality it's not going to matter to Heavenly Father where we lived, how much we earned, what our health was like, or what our circumstances are: He will simply asked as the master did to the servants that he gave various numbers of talents too in the New Testament, "What did you make with what you were given?" We were created to act and not to be acted upon. Although it may seem that we have no choice because of what is around us, never forget that the Being that is greater that all that seems to effect us day-to-day gave us the gift of agency to choose. Think about that.

5. Trials are a necessary tool for growth. Just as gold much burned to get rid of all the impurities, if we keep in mind what we were created for and just what we need to become, we realize that not only is the refiners fire a blessing, but absolutely necessary for our progression. We can then accept trials as not burdens, but blessings. Think about that.  

6. Our Savior Jesus Christ was sent on this earth so that we would not have to walk the path to perfection alone as he did. Use his help. Its free to all who seek it. Think about that.

How grateful I am that we have this plan of Salvation that allows me to have purpose in life, a path that I am walking, and peace in my heart that all will be okay. This plan is from God and perfect at that. I encourage you not only to believe what you read or hear, but get on your knees and ask God in prayer, whether it be the first time or the fiftieth time, to find out if this is really from Him. I know he answers His children because he loves us, we are his children, and we are created to become like Him, through the help of our Savior, if we so choose to so do. Love you Mom! 

Elder Claypool
I'm so sorry that I don't have much time to write this week... I love you and I printed off your letter to read it.

I lead my first funeral service today of a less-active lady in our branch here...we dedicated the grave as truly is amazing what you learn on your mission and how that prepares you...thanks for being a shining example of the priesthood for me.

"Love Conference" - 10/21/2013

Post 10/21

Oh dad, your jokes every week are just the highlight of my internet time....besides of course all the other inspiring messages that you and others send.

Thanks so much for your thoughts about peaks and valleys...the idea of opposition is something that I've been studying pretty intensely these past few days especially as I have been brought to the need to help investigators understand the Plan of Salvation...And for myself personally, it is such a liberating thought to focus on what I can do and then let the Lord do the rest. It's such a fundamental truth that we often skip over: The Lord asks us to serve will all our heart, might, mind, and strength, but even more so I would say that he doesn't require any more or less than that. When we serve with all our heart, that for me means our sincerest desires, our hopes, and foundation of everything we do. On the flip side, when we serve with our might, that's just going out and working hard. Working "smart" however comes from serving with all our mind. And then the last is what I think you were talking about: Serving with all our strength(s). I add the s because it helps me better understand that I am called to serve with what I have - all of what I have - but what I have. Give all we have got. That is enough for the Lord. "[F]or unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Ne 28:30). We receive what the Lord has given us by actively using our gifts for the sake of the growth of the kingdom of God. I'm here on this earth for the sake of fulfilling my Father's will, and that will is to bring the people of Ukraine and Sumy into the waters of baptism and prepare them to receive the ordinances of the temple. It's a pretty cool cause. Makes me happy.

I love you dad, mom, Korm and twins. Hug all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
Conference was just incredible and was able to help me this next week just better understand the Gospel in ways that I had never understood it before. What was merely doctrine to me before my mission is now becoming me with more breadth, depth, and purpose than I have ever experienced before. My companion is just doing so wonderful. I'm realizing that even with a wonderful elder where we both get along, we still have to be patient with each other and keep loving and serving one another. He's a trooper for putting up with me. There are actually six missionaries here in Sumy, four elders and two sisters. Only one of the elders was here before, so practically our entire district is new, but we did it to change the mindset of Sumy. It is so cool to see that when you change your attitude, the entire world changes and even our effectiveness changes. Here's the secret I think to getting to that crucial attitude shift: gratitude and correct understanding of truth. We had quite a few run-ins this week with the same type of person: hopeless, purposeless, and directionless. It is so heartbreaking to think that the old mind-set of missionaries about this city is upheld by the members and inhabitants of the city. We met with people who were incredibly bounded by addictions, limited by mentality, and chained in sin. Two of my dearest investigator friends here have literally said they have no hope in the future and cannot believe in a God that so willingly lets Satan reign. It makes you just want to weep. They even have the audacity to tell us as missionaries that our work is in vain since no one is going to change, for they have to choose themselves. It seems like kind of a predicament doesn't it? They are stuck in a dammed hole with no hope for progression. Like the man that we met yesterday, he was so locked in the damming effects of his poor choices that it seems almost impossible to change his heart. What is the point then of being here and teaching the Gospel?

Well...its pretty grim odds to be against especially when this is what you hear from people on the street and that poisonous voice you hear trying to whisper lies to your heart. But I wont believe it for one second. The idea that a man cannot change is to deny the eternal nature of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to judge a man beyond mercy's reach. That is the beauty of our message: when we choose to take upon ourselves the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, change our lives to be in accordance to our teachings, we can start over, be clean, and become even better people than before. The argument still rears its ugly head however: All men are to choose for themselves, so what's the bother of trying to convince them to choose something if it is their choice when it all comes down to it? To any member, missionary, or dear friend who seems to have given up on their duties to preach the good news of change and improvement to Christ the Lord, I want to share an eternal truth: "Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other (2 Nephi 2:16). Satan's doing his part, but we are also doing ours. So let's rally around our title of liberty - liberty of the human family from sin, depression, and captivity, and bring the light of our message that God in His love has reached out to us, His children, once more to bring about a marvelous work and wonder as the children of men, through his divinely called servants and Priesthood power, are gathered and welcomed safely home. The Work of Salvation is our banner, and it's inscription? "For our wives, and children, and family, and friends - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Our entire Heavenly Family."

It's a pretty cool thing to be a part of isn't it!? :) I bet you are eventually tired of hearing my ramblings of what I am learning ever I'm grateful for the patience :) The work is moving forward here and I am finding so much happiness from the ability to just live for the sake of others before myself. 

I love you! And all the people here that see your photo are amazed that you look so young and shinning! Hopefully the ugly duckling will grown into the handsome beauty that he hopefully got from his mom's genes ;)

Elder Claypool