Monday, March 31, 2014

Sometimes, Fishers of Men are Fishers of Fish

Hey, Dad.

I'm sorry about the short emails and I'm sorry to say that I still don't have pictures from this past week, but I will definitely get you some next week.  But here's a little teaser; one of the photos is of a roast that Elder Quayle and I made this weekend; it wasn't bad, we got some tips on how to cook it from a less active woman in the ward who's a pretty good cook.  The meat was kind of dry, but overall, not bad for a first time.

Here's the scoop on the Glenwood Ward; in case you don't already know, we dropped our investigator a few weekends ago.  Pretty much all he wanted to do was to get us to bash with him.  All we could do was bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and his response was a pleasantly curt, "Thank you.  That was passionate, very good."  So we dropped him ("I knew it would get to this point," he said), and then we get a voice mail from him a couple of days ago in which he said, "I think we dropped the ball," like an ex wanting to get back with their significant other.  We haven't called him back yet; this is nothing new with him.  He's been doing this with the missionaries in this area for years.  We did find a former investigator but since she's a single woman, we handed her over to the Sisters to teach.  We're on the lookout, but since transfers are this week (we find out the results on Thursday and then, if one or both of us gets/get transferred, we leave Friday), we're kind of in a wait-and-see mode, but we're still on the lookout.

Mormon Iowa: Home of Strong Women, with Firm Handshakes

The ward members are nice for the most part....  We helped our former ward mission leader's son move a friend a few weeks ago and he's actually a nice guy, they're both pretty nice, and I think that might be biologically related.  The two of them are moving up to Council Bluffs to go to college.  Our new ward mission leader and his family moved in from Atlanta about a month ago and they're really cool, really nice.  His wife has the handshake of a mountain man.  The biggest challenge we have is helping a few of our less actives find the motivation to get to Church.  One of them is a good guy, really funny, he has a Duck Dynasty beard, but his "sinus infection" is killing him and has been keeping him from getting to Church since his baptism about eight months ago... He cleans port-a-potties throughout the Omaha metro area.  He defends the Church to anyone he runs into who has beef against it, but he struggles to get to meetings.    

Here's a fun game: Guess which beards are Mormon:
Lanny McDonald.  Beard.
Benjamin F. Johnson. Mormon Beard.
Heber J. Grant. Mormon Beard
ZZ Top: Beards

Orson Pratt.  Mormon Beard.
John Candy, as Gil Fisher, The Fishin' Musician: Beard.

Joseph F. Smith: Mormon Beard.
Orrin Porter Rockwell: Mormon Beard.

The Bishop is a really good guy.  He's in his 30s, he used to work for Yahoo! but got laid off and he's looking for a job.  His wife is a pharmacist and she's a ginger giant and they have a few kids who are all pretty good, quiet.  Yesterday for the third hour, Bishop delivered a PowerPoint presentation about the revamped Gospel Topics page on and how the Church is, as he put it, "taking the oxygen out of the anti-Mormon movement" by consolidating and collecting all of the facts in order to present a 100 percent transparent history of the Church.  He quoted Camilla Kimball regarding when she had unanswered questions about the Church.  She'd put the unanswered questions on the mental shelf and get back to them later, but Bishop decided to lay out a big and controversial concern and invited us to do what we will with it, but he wanted to get it out in the open.  It was about Polygamy.  He talked about how he descends from a polygamist family and presented a basic yet very detailed history about its practice.  Among other things, he explained that the reason why it was practiced was to speed up bringing more of God's Children here to Earth so that they could participate in the saving ordinances (he cited Jacob 2:30 and D&C 131 and 132), that it's estimated that Joseph Smith had 30-40 wives, that the practice of polygamy was publicly denied by Church leaders until 1852 because they thought the general Church couldn't handle it yet; and that the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 would've brought the temporal Church to oblivion had it not been for the issuance of Official Declaration 1 in the D&C.  He also talked a little bit about the practice of the Law of Adoptive Sealing and so forth, which obviously has been discontinued.  He also cited a few instances when Joseph Smith brought people back from the dead through the power of the Priesthood so in case people think that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet.  He bore his testimony and there it was.  One of the examples he cited for the Church's crusade for transparency was the 1911 case where men broke into the Salt Lake Temple and photographed it, which led to the creation and publication of the book, "House of the Lord" by James E. Talmage.  So there you go.

James Talmage: Beardless Mormon. Author of The House of the Lord    

Salt Lake Temple Celestial Room. From the first edition of The House of the Lord

The rest of the Bishopric is pretty cool; the first counselor is kind of a gruff farmer but he's a nice guy, his kids are pretty nice and his wife is really nice; she teaches Seminary.  Like the Bishop, the second counselor is young, really nice guy,  he bore a powerful testimony yesterday, his wife is really nice, and they have a nice little family.

A few big changes are happening this week.  One of our Assistants to the President (APs), who's known Elder Quayle for a while because he was a Zone Leader in Council Bluffs before going AP, is completing his mission and there's a lot of speculation as to who the next AP will be.  Elder Quayle is convinced that he's leaving this transfer and he probably will, but you never know.  He's been out for 14 months and has had only two areas: he was in Wahoo, Nebraska (a town of about 1,000 people just a little west of Omaha) for the first half of his mission and he's been in Glenwood for 7 1/2 months.  President Weston is trying to keep most missionaries in areas for a longer period of time than the last mission president did so we'll see what happens.  We're going fishing for P-day today; a cool family in our ward has a huge piece of property with two ponds and they let us fish there a few weeks ago.  Elder Quayle's trainer, Elder Chappell, who became one of our Zone Leaders at the beginning of this transfer, LOVES fishing and they and the Bellevue 1st Elders went fishing with us that week, so they're coming again today.  I had a rough start, but we all caught something (it was catch-and-release), so we had a good time.  We have a feeling that if you have a good P-day, your week kind of speeds by, so we're looking forward to it.  

So that's what's been going on; it'll be interesting and exciting to see what happens this week.  I appreciate your prayers and thoughts and I pray for y'all every day.  I'll fill you in on more juicy details next week.

Elder McMurray   

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