Monday, June 15, 2015


A park across the street from the library in Malmö.
This week we met with a man named Mohanned, and one of the first things I noticed when I walked in was a baseball sitting in a cabinet. It's not often I get to see one of those leather-clad beauties, so stopped to admire it and asked him about it. Unfortunately he isn't really a fan of the sport, but he has family in Seattle, and it was a great American souvenir. 

As we sat down, he expressed that he had an interest in understanding who we were and what we were about. One could say, he is a student of religion.  He had never heard of us and that sparked his curiosity. There is no way to explain the direction that the conversation went, because two and a half hours later, I found that we had discussed everything from the depths of the ocean to the expanses of space. But one of his big questions was, "What sets you apart from the other Christian religions?" The answer is the Book of Mormon.

I do not think that one can say that our values are necessarily different or that our doctrine is fundamentally different. The Bible and Christ are the foundation to all Christian religions. Human interpretation has taken Christ's teachings and taken them in many different directions, but at the root of it all, the doctrine cannot be changed. It is made more clear when a study is done of both the Book of Mormon and the Bible side by side. An intense study of these two books reveal many wonderful truths that can be learned from the experiences of others, long before our time. 

One of the reasons that the Book of Mormon is so special, is because it is relatively untouched. Mohanned talked about how the Bible has many different translations and people use different parts of it.  Because of this, it becomes quite confusing. He also admitted that there is a possibility that the Koran has had changes made to it as leaders interpreted and even changed parts of it to increase their power or fit their purposes. However, the Book of Mormon is a book that was translated by one man. The claim that this young man, with very little formal education, translated a book from an ancient language is certainly enormous. And because of that claim, there have been countless people who have worked to defame and discredit Joseph Smith. But whatever their claims, whatever their motives, not one has disproved his story. 

One cannot discount the thousands of people who join the Church every year on account of one thing, the Book of Mormon. It is through this book that many people are able to discover, begin, and strengthen their relationship with God and Jesus Christ. We are often asked, what is the evidence of God? What is the evidence of this book? And we simply point them to a promise that can be found within the book by the last author, Moroni. 

MORONI 10: 3-5
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. 
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 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.

This is the promise that has led thousands of young men and women to leave their families and homes. This is the promise that has spurred a congregation of 6 people in April 6, 1830 to become over 16 million today. This is the promise that when we receive these things, we can know that God is our Father.  This is the work that Joseph Smith eventually died for. The magnitude of this book is staggering and a careful study of it will bring joy. It is a book about life and contains great advice. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to read this book. Man cannot take away the assurance I have that God is there for us and through Jesus Christ we can return to Him. The Book of Mormon, with the Bible will show us the way home. I have this belief, this hope, and a growing knowledge, that I am on my way home.
Two baby seagulls that have found sanctuary by the chapel. Their parents stand sentinel on the steeple and keep unwanted people away.

This is the apartment building that I call home. 
I never cease to amaze myself with the culinary masterpieces I make. Elder Bailey was disgusted by this. Genius will always be opposed.

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