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

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