Elder Soutas

Elder Soutas

Monday, May 1, 2017


Well this week went pretty great I'd say. My new companion is Elder Schrader and we get a long really well! He is really chill. He is from Eagle, ID, the same high school that Tanner Mangum went to. He played for the same football team too. Except he loathes BYU haha. Boise State bronco. Oh well. I don't really get prejudice against other teams like I used to. I realized that is kind of ridiculous. We will see if I have the same enthusiasm for BYU sports that I did before. I might live a happier life if I don't haha. I probably will though.

Top news for this week is we found 2 new investigators. The first one is named Cooper and he is going to probably be baptized! His grandmother's side are all Members  in Arizona. He and his mom who got recently divorced, moved from California not too long ago. There is still a lot to the story that we don't know about, but Cooper's aunt is on life support, or at this point she might have even passed. We don't know yet.

We met with Bishop Ott on Thursday and shared with him our vision for the ward. Our vision includes having 8 individuals baptized this transfer. It is definitely possible. We have quite a few potentials that members are working with. We are looking for a family of 5 or 6 to baptize. In the meeting with Bishop, he promised us that we would have at least 1 baptism this transfer, and that he wouldn't allow me to go home without at least one. One is good, but I am expecting much more. 

So Cooper's mom from what is sounds like wants to be Mormon. In our lesson in which we brought Bro. Timothy, our awesome new ward mission leader who played for Clemson football(google Gifford Timothy clemson) came with us on our first visit with Cooper. It was thundering and lightning and has been raining heavily all week. There were some minor floods. 

The lesson went pretty great! So it turns out that the Hendrick's daughter in the ward invited Cooper at school to come to church. But that's not the only reason why he is coming. He is actually sincere and looking for happiness in his family. He even mentioned that he wants to serve a mission! IT is crazy cool. He came to church yesterday and seemed like he enjoyed it. The youth in the ward will be able to support him really well it seems. We are teaching he and his mom again tonight. 

 We had a lesson with a former investigator named Nic Moffit. He was a really nice guy, but he was trying to pick a part passages in the book of mormon, particularly Alma 32:31-32 about the good and bad seed. He assumed that the book of mormon didn't line up with what the bible teaches in the parable of the sower comparitively speaking. 31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is good seed? say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto itsown likeness.
32 Therefore, if seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
He tried to make it sound like the parable of the sower never mentioned anything about bad seeds or something like that which really confused me. He also said that there is no physical evidence for the book of Mormon and that you can't trust your feelings to guide you to truth because your feelings will betray you. Something like that.  Elder Schrader and I didn't know what to say to him. We just told him that we didn't know but that we could study it some more. I felt kind of bad afterward because we weren't able to answer him and we didn't really testify of anything, so it felt like he stumped us. My faith the rest of the day was kind of low . Finally I decided that all of these doubts weren't doing me any good and I mustered enough faith to ask my companion for a presithood blessing. I can't recall the last time I asked for a priesthood blessing. He gave me a really great blessing and I felt much better afterward. He is a really great missionary companion. He is very non-judgmental and compasssionate. 
 We were then able to go teach Cooper and had a great rest of the day. 
This morning I looked up a talk about Book of Mormon evidences and I think I might show these to Nic. The evidence is astounding. I like this quote from the article "Mounting evidence for the Book of Mormon" which was in the Ensign a while back:
What no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned.Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains climate in which belief may flourish.” 3 The following evidence of the book of mormon aren't the foundation of my testimony of it one bit. I know by the holy ghost it is true. But these do solidify my faith. 
  • The Witnesses:  In addition to Joseph Smith, 11 official witnesses andseveral unofficial witnesses testified to the existence of the plates and, insome cases, to dramatic supernatural confirmation of their truth. Meticulousresearch on these witnesses has confirmed their good character and theveracity of their accounts. 7 
  • Translated in a short amount of time impossible by man on their own:  translation and dictation of the book were accomplished inroughly 63 working days—a torrid pace that, with neither rewrites norcorrections, produced nearly 8.5 pages (of our current English edition)daily. 11 
  • Impossible for someone with little education as well as any sort of knowledge of things of the culture and climate of which the book of mormon was written:                          He had received at most afew months of formal schooling. His mother later recalled that, even into his late teens, “he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any ofthe rest of our children.” 14   His wife Emma reports that, in the late 1820s, Joseph “could neither write nordictate coherent and well worded letter, let alone dictate book like theBook of Mormon. … The larger part of this labor [of translation] was done [in]my presence and where could see and know what was being done. … During no part of it did Joseph Smith have any [manuscripts] or book of any kind from which to read or dictate except the metalic [sicplates which knew he had.” 15  “If,” she said, “he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.” 16 
  • And, she added, writing to her son: “I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, whenacting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; andwhen returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once beginwhere he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having anyportion of it read to him. This was usual thing for him to do. It would havebeen improbable that learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorantand unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.” 17 
  • In recent years, rigorous statistical analysis strongly indicates that neitherJoseph Smith nor any of his known associates composed the English text ofthe Book of Mormon. In fact, research suggests that the book was written bynumerous distinct authors.
  • Other plates have been found      More than 100 examples of ancient writing on metal plates have been discovered, including this gold plate of Darius, buried in a stone box in 516–515 B.C.
  • In recent years, rigorous statistical analysis strongly indicates that neitherJoseph Smith nor any of his known associates composed the English text ofthe Book of Mormon. In fact, research suggests that the book was written bynumerous distinct authors.
  • In recent years, rigorous statistical analysis strongly indicates that neitherJoseph Smith nor any of his known associates composed the English text ofthe Book of Mormon. In fact, research suggests that the book was written bynumerous distinct authors.
  • . 28  The Book of Mormon account of Lehi’s Arabian sojourn is remarkably accurate to numerous specific geographic conditions, but no scholar in the 19th century, let alone Joseph Smith, could have known of it. 29 Also, the 344 days it took for the people of Jared is precisely how long it takes from current to get from Near east across the atlantic or the pacific (can't remember which ocean) to where they may have landed. 
  • Feast of Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, as well as witharchaic treaty and covenant formulas and early Near Eastern coronationfestivals. 36  Even the physical setting of the speech—delivered while the kingstood upon tower (see Mosiah 2:7)—is ritually appropriate to the occasion.But the Prophet Joseph Smith could not have learned this from the EnglishBibles or any other books available to him. 37 
    Semitic complexity:
  • Likewise, he could not have known that the ancient Hebrew term moshia’signifies champion of justice against oppression, appointed by God, whosemission it is to liberate chosen people from oppression, especially by nonviolent means. 
  • The appearance of the two men named Alma in the Book of Mormon has occasioned much comment from critics. They observe that Alma is woman’sname and Latin rather than Hebrew. (Many recognize the phrase alma mater,which means “beneficent mother” and refers to the school from whichsomeone has graduated.) They are correct, of course. If Joseph Smith knewthe name Alma at all in the early 19th century, he would have known it as awoman’s name in Latin. Recent documentary finds demonstrate, however,that Alma also occurs as Semitic masculine personal name in the ancientNear East—just as it does in the Book of Mormon. 39 
  •  as chiasmus—a rhetorical device overlooked by biblical scholarship until decades after Joseph Smith’s death—is another powerful indicator of the record’s antiquity. 41  The same literarystructure has now been identified in pre-Columbian America. 42  An understanding of the chiastic construction of Alma 36 also impressivelydeepens our understanding of the Christ-centered character of that entire chapter and of the Book of Mormon’s witness as whole.
  • The allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5 shows clear knowledge of olive cultivation far beyond what Joseph Smith, growing up in the American Northeast, could have possessed. But it is entirely consistent, in impressive detail, with what we learn from ancient manuals on olive cultivation.
Persons who choose to dismiss the Book of Mormon must find their ownideas for explaining it and the mounting evidence for its authenticity. Andwhile we will never “prove” the Book of Mormon true, the trajectory of theevidence strongly suggests that it is exactly what it claims to be, bookworthy of our deep study, reflection, and serious personal prayer. Thousandsof hours of research have produced the current blossoming of Book ofMormon studies that bless the lives of Latter-day Saints. They cannot be lightly brushed aside.
  • The conclusion of the matter is that much modern evidence supports the more powerful witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true.Joseph Smith, who translated it, had to be what he said he was, prophet of God. The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. Most important, the Bookof Mormon and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirm that Jesus is the Christ, the divine Savior of the world, and that He will come someday in the future in the manner that the scriptures herald.
Have a good week!
Love Elder Soutas