North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Sunday, May 26, 2013

4/29/13 "You are a specter from the gods..."

Elder Wilkinson in our apartment had never seen The Testaments, so this week the four of us watched it in short segments over the course of a few days. Despite the many quirks about the scenes in America, I still love that movie, and I still cried in the final scene with the Savior. I've also come to the conclusion that it is possible to respond to any possible situation with a Kohor quote. The man is simply one of the best characters in film history.

I again want to send a general shout-out to all the wonderful people who participated in my birthday. Your testimonies are the greatest gift I could have ever asked for.

As for the work itself, this last week was a lot of running around. We met with a lot of less-actives, set a lot of appointments, had a lot of appointments fall through and had a lot of little miracles occur to remind us that Heavenly Father was still in control of things.

One notable highlight was meeting the Headen family, a family of 7 who we caught right as they pulled into their driveway. They let us in their home, where we were able to teach them a little bit about the Restoration. Hopefully they will progress and find that the Gospel is what they're looking for.

Elder Fulton and I are getting along well. I kind of like how there is no senior or junior companion, since we respect each other. He and Elder Parker, our District Leader who lives with us, also like to sing, so I finally get to harmonize! How wonderful!

I guess the biggest thing that stood out to me this week, though, was a bit more personal. For one reason or another I had felt that I really really needed to read through the Book of Mormon again and renew my testimony of it. Perhaps it really clicked with me just how much the Church depends on the Book of Mormon being true. I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote down "Evidence the Book of Mormon is true," and I've been filling it out as I've been reading through it.

As you all probably know, I want to be a writer someday; I'm constantly working on various stories and I hope to write at least one book before I die. I guess I had been looking at the Book of Mormon from the point of view of: "Could I write something like this?"

Here are some of my thoughts on the Book of Mormon:

Apparently the portion of the Book of Mormon that we have was written, if I remember correctly, in 88 days. 7-10 pages a day on average, and a constant flow of words from Joseph Smith, with no stopping. No proofreading, no going back and making revisions.

I first got the idea for my story at around age twelve. Provided that Joseph Smith made up the Book of Mormon, and assuming, for convenience's sake, that he got the idea around the same time that I did, age twelve, that would have given him about ten years or so to finalize and prepare the story before the translation process began.

I am currently 19, so that would give me about two more years to prepare my fantasy story and wrap up all the characters and such. If I could possibly manage to do that, I would then have to write about 7-10 pages a day, every day, until I had produced a 531-page work, with the pages containing a similar amount of material as the Book of Mormon's. I would have to do this to match Joseph Smith. Just so you know: before my mission, the best I ever managed to do was 10 pages in a day -- that was with major pauses and revision, and I was stumped of what to write for days after.

To accomplish a feat like the Book of Mormon -- to be able to make any sort of story at all, at that rate and at that size -- Joseph Smith would have to be a genius, a seat-of-your-pants author the likes of which the world has never seen before or since. The level of detail in story, including battle tactics, religious discourses and philosophical arguments, just adds to the enormity of the work.

To compare: Tolkien's Middle Earth took decades to create. J.K. Rowling took over a decade to write Harry Potter. Robert Jordan, author of the massive Wheel of Time fantasy series, had spent over twenty years in the actual writing process, and who knows how long he had been thinking about it before that; even still, he died before he finished it. All of these stories are fantasy worlds, with no geography or locations or religions to restrict the story. The Book of Mormon, however, restricts itself by claiming both Old and New World locations, as well as civilizations with Hebrew origins. It fits within these restrictions.

I could cite loads of other evidence I have found that the Book of Mormon is true, but for the sake of time I'll throw out some food for thought:

1) The Book of Mormon would be a literary masterpiece, even if it had taken decades to write. It was completed in 88 days.

2) Even if the Book of Mormon had required revision, regardless of the time it took to make it, it would still be one of the most brilliant and incredible feats of literature ever made. However, other than minor spelling or punctuation changes, no revisions were ever made.

3) If any man had written the Book of Mormon in 88 days, with no revisions, it would have been amazing. Joseph Smith, however, was a fairly uneducated farmer.

4) If the Book of Mormon and its origins was a lie, someone involved in its making would have exposed it. No one ever denied it. Even the Three Witnesses, all of whom left the Church at some point and all of whom could have done massive damage to Joseph Smith by going back on their testimony when they no longer supported him -- none of these ever went back on their testimony of the Book of Mormon. No one ever denied. Joseph Smith endured horrible persecution and sealed his testimony of the Book of Mormon with his blood. Would a liar do that?

5) If Joseph Smith was a liar, then his movement, the Church, would have died with him. But no; the Saints survived, and, against all odds, established the Church across the plains. How could any group of people accomplish this unless they were helped by a divine power?

6) The growth of the Church over the years has been nothing short of miraculous. Its success is a testament to its truthfulness. Could a church founded on a lie possibly grow like this? Could a church founded on a lie possibly survive?

The Church is true, and coming to a testimony of its truth is essential to the salvation of each and every one of us. We may nitpick at small issues, but when taken as a whole, it becomes abundantly clear that this is the Lord's work. It is described in scripture as "a marvelous work and a wonder," and indeed it is. With saints of old, with great joy I too can testify that the Savior's Church is restored, and that we are the only true Church upon the face of the earth. I will carry this news the best I can out here, and you make sure to spread it the best you can out there.

I love you, and I love my mission oh so very much. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

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