Our biggest growth is still Javier-looks-like-pancha. He is going to get baptized, I can feel it. He said he was thinking with his wife about getting married this next weekend, which would be awesome, because he is totally prepared. We only have a few more lessons to teach him, he’s been to church enough, he has all the support in the world, and he is actually comfortable in the chapel. He even is excited to study. We taught him about “Bautism and Confermation” from Lesson 4 (commandments) and I shared him Moses 6:59, which when I read it, I thought that while making an excellent connection between the first two ordinances of the gospel and the atonement well, it wasn’t particularly hard: but when I tried to explain it to him, he got lost. He isn’t dumb, but he has had that problem a lot, where he feels a little lost next to the people who have studies more and understand the doctrine better, like ward members. But instead of getting discouraged, he made a comment I really liked, which was “I feel like I should buy a book to start writing down what I am learning better”, which is a sign to me that he is humble enough to be taught, and through his humility, weak things become strong.
He did not come to conference, which was a shame because they talked a LOT about marriage and family, which might have helped him out to give him that final push to getting married. It made all of us missionaries really trunky, especially the Saturday session. I felt that they were talking a good deal to young adults, especially post-mission age, which left us thinking a lot about our plans after the mission. I don’t know if you noticed, but on Saturday, if they weren’t talking about marriage (and half of the talks were) they at least made reference to it. Woof.
I really enjoyed conference. We were in a stake center again, but this time we weren’t in the high council room, which was sad. I don’t know why Gabriela would be better than La Reina that way, because the stake center in Lynch Norte (La Reina) is the biggest church building after the MTC and the temple in the mission, and Gabriela is… Gabriela. But it was fine. They set us up with a TV in one of the classrooms on the second floor. It was a little weird being with the sisters that long. There was almost twice as many sisters in this zone as Elders, because the sectors are much better than in the south of the mission. And there was a gringo family with a bajillion kids that were a little annoying and distracting, but other than that, I learned a lot.
I really like the first talk by Eyring. For anyone who hasn’t heard, Chile is passing through a lot of serious natural disasters right now. A few volcanos erupted in the South, and in the North, there is some pretty devastating flooding. In fact, from the pictures I’ve seen, the flooding they have been having is making the flooding we had in Calgary a few years ago look like sissy stuff. It is weird, too, because, in case you aren’t too familiar with Chilean geography, the North is a huge, very dry desert. What I liked about the first talk by Eyring was he was basically addressing that. He explained how fast offerings is how we are charitable to those passing through disasters. Very timely.
I also had a few questions of my own answered. Before conference, I with Elder Granda had been inviting everyone to think of questions to take to conference, then pay attention and watch while they got answered. I decided to follow my own advice and try it. This month, I have been studying based off of Jesus the Christ, like what I did during Christmas, and I got a few questions. I find that as I study, I get more questions, and they get deeper, but in a way, more basic. My question was why is it that we can’t atone for our own sins? It seems obvious, but when you think about it, not so much. I couldn’t think of any reason at all that I can’t go through what Christ went through, except that my human frame can’t support it, and even with that, if it is God’s will, I didn’t see why not. I wasn’t questioning the NEED of a Christ, nor was I questioning my gratefulness for my sacrifice, but I wanted to know, was it really all necessary?
The three talks that I want to study again to make my answer a little more concrete were Christofferson, Holland and Uchtdorf from Sunday. This is my answer, and I am sure that there is more, and this may be only a way to look at it, but it is what I got. There are laws in heaven that all beings who live there must abide, or cease to be. One of them is the law of opposition. There must be an opposition in all things, or else the thing that has no opposite ceases to exist (2 Ne 2:11). As such, there was always good, always bad, and the one must exist for the other to continue. I had always thought that the opposite of Christ was the Devil, Lucifer, but Holland said something that made me think perhaps it was not so. I think that the devil, embodying evil, is not the opposite of Christ, but the opposite of God the Father (Christ said that he was not good; only the Father was good.) Yes, I acknowledge that Christ is essentially the same as the Father, IN CHARACTER AND PURPOSE. In role, they are very distinct. So, who is the opposite of the Son? In the garden of Eden, there were 2 trees. The tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know from Lehi’s dream that the tree of life represented the love of God, which is embodies by the Son of God. So what does the tree of knowledge represent? Well, what does it bring? Death, to all mankind. And who brought death into the world? Adam. Adam is the opposite of Jesus. He is the father of death as Jesus is the father of life (1 Cor 15:21-22). I can accept that the fall of Adam was absolutely necesary for the birth of man, and I can accept that the fall was also a direct causer of death, so therefore, I can accept, like the scripture in 1 Corinthians says, through one man, death came into the world, and through one man, life. Or, in other words, Christs atonement was, in part, in compliance to the law of opposites, which is a law, like agency, that God can not and will not break.