June 25, 2014

Building Some Faith (June 23, 2014)

So, I ran into quite the book this past week during my two days with a Gringo companion. It is a book called "The Day of Defense" by an LDS author, and it basically defends the LDS church with every possible counter-argument that other churches could use. It was pretty good: but I would say the last part was the real hook, line, and sinker. It´s called the "Challenge of the Book of Mormon" where basically it defends the divinity of the Book of Mormon by showing how literally impossible it would be for Joseph Smith to write the Book of Mormon in his situation. It is a 33-part challenge and I included it at the end of this letter if you´d like to check it out.

Then, I got to meet my new hijo! His name is Elder Villalba: a brand-new 18 year old from Ecuador and he is quite the go-getter! We contacted for just about 3 days straight and ran into 3 families, gave one man who had recently lost his 18 year-old daughter the baptismal challenge, and had a total of 10 new investigators in 3 days. It was very, very crazy, but quite exciting. I am excited to train this new elder and get some good done! I really look forward to changing this area a lot more than anyone else has done here in over a year. Good stuff to come!

Also, during a study with Elder Villalba, I ran into a great scripture in the Book of Mormon. In Mormon chapter 9 verse 19, the American prophet Moroni also gives a defense on the Book of Mormon. He says to everyone who doesn´t believe that God would give the world another set of sacred scriptures:

"Why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."

 I certainly see just how powerful God is and full of miracles He is as well. God is and will always be God, and He will always want the best for His children. That is why He gives us modern revelation and more of His word as time goes on. This knowledge has certainly help build my faith in God and my faith that in one more year, I will be back home yet a changed man. #esperanza.

Anyways, hope all is going well for everyone back home. Love you all and hope everyone knows that. I also hope to come home and sing the hymn: "Love is Spoken Here" with my family for a meeting or for some event. It is just a winning hymn.

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

"The Challenge of the Book of Mormon"   Review the list below to see if you could write a book similar to the Book of Mormon under conditions comparable to those experienced by Joseph.
  1. You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
  2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
  3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
  4. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 2200 B.C. to 421 A.D.
  5. You must write a book with 102 chapters, twenty-five of them about wars, ten about history, twenty-one about prophecy, thirty-two about doctrines, five about missionaries, and nine about the mission of Christ.
  6. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
  7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
  8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.
  9. When you start to produce this record covering a period of over twenty-six hundred years, you must finish in approximately eighty days.
  10. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever (this does not include grammatical errors, etc).
  11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you. You must start right where you stopped previously.
  12. Your history or record must be long, approximately 777 pages with over 500 words per page.
  13. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language (William Shakespeare added thirty).
  14. You must announce that your "smooth narrative" is not fiction, but true—yes, a sacred history.
  15. In fact, your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
  16. You must publish  it to  every nation,  kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
  17. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise:  "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."
  18. Tens of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 178 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth is manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  19. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.
  20. There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book (except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, etc.).
  21. Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations, of which you will write about, is not known when you publish your manuscript.
  22. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
  23. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their thousands of years of history.
  24. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care.   You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.
  25. After 178 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproven, but all are vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin rise and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
  26. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 178 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.
  27. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 178 years.
  28. Three honest, accreditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.
  29. You must hear out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer declaring to you and those three witnesses that your record is true, and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of it—and that they do.
  30. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight, and that they handled them and felt the engravings thereon.
  31. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their deaths.
  32. You must talk a friend into financing your book with the understanding that he or you will never receive any monetary remuneration from it. This person must mortgage his farm to have it printed. You must sell the book at cost or less.
  33. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for twenty-four years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God.

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