Monday, December 19, 2016

Feliz Natal! And the True Church

 Elder Martins!
 Today's going to be a great day!
 Altura dos Elderes! (Height of the Elders) I'm not the shortest to have served in Guanabara! Brasil is actually pretty great because I don't feel as short as I did in the US, hahaha!
 Elder Banz!
 Elder Stafford!
 Presidente Bührer!
Always representing Central

I bought a whole kilo of Raisins this week!!! It was 15 reais which is about 4 dollars. I bought them on Monday and finished the last ones of Friday. It didn’t even last me five days! I like raisins and can eat muitas. Coisa boa.

Gessiley was confirmed today! (I’m writing this part on Sunday night). She’s great and already participating as if she were a lifelong member. We had a lesson with her today, and she asked about the organization of the church from President Thomas S. Monson to the bottom. We explained it all from the First Presidency and Apostles until Bishops and branch presidents. It was the first time I’ve ever completely explained the church’s hierarchal organization in my life, I think. It was cool.

I am so grateful to belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. There are few thoughts more comforting than this. I know that God’s true church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet, that there are 12 living apostles, and that Jesus Christ leads His Church through this, the organizations that He established and reestablished. My testimony of the restoration of the gospel grows every day. I’m grateful not only for being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but also for representing the Lord’s church every day. It’s a marvelous experience.

A lot of people here say “a church’s name doesn’t save anyone.” That’s true, but they say it to mean “no single church is necessary to reach salvation.” That’s wrong. As an explanation: Jesus said in John 3:5 that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without being baptized. Ephesians 4:5 declares there is only one baptism, the correct one as clarified in Lucas 12:50 (people often quote Ephesians to say you can only be baptized once, independent of the manner of baptism. Clearly that’s not true. This ‘one’ baptism means one correct manner and not one time only. This is clear in Luke (I’m sorry, I wrote Lucas the first time, that’s what it is in Portuguese haha) 12:50. Also, if one were baptized by not by the true baptism, how would he be prohibited from being baptized once more with the correct baptism?). What is the correct baptism? Mark 10:38—the same baptism with which Jesus was baptized. He is the perfect example in all things! His baptism included the following essential elements: Immersion, age of accountability, and authority from God, which John the Baptist held. In anywhere in the world you can find sufficient water to immerse someone (well, maybe not in the Sahara and maybe not in Georgia during the last few months of drought!) and people with an age of personal accountability (being 8 years old, as revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith). Authority of God, the Holy Priesthood, does not find itself so easily, however. It is passed from someone who holds it to another through the laying on of hands, as we see in Acts 6 and 13. Jesus gave this authority to his 12 apostles. When the Savior and His apostles were killed, the Priesthood was lost and the line of authority abruptly halted. The organization of prophet and apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20) was lost. If apostolic authority were passed to others and had continued for many years after the death of the original apostles, the Bible would have continued. When Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith in 1829, they restored the Priesthood through the laying on of hands. Today this authority is passed to worthy men of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Therefore it is only this church that has the authority required to perform the true baptism and thus enable people to enter the kingdom of God.

Note: After writing this I gave a look in the English KJV and realized that Luke 12:50 has a meaning in English different than that in Portuguese. In the Portuguese Joao Ferreria de Almeida version Lucas 12:50 reads “It is important that one be baptized with one correct (also: right, certain) baptism…” I refer to this interpretation in the previous paragraph.

Isn’t it a blessing that we have the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation to clarity the confusion which resulted after centuries of worldwide apostasy?

This week was awesome! We had a great Christmas activity in Uberlandia with the missionaries from there, Uberaba, and Patos. It was fun to relax, see friends, play ping-pong, talk to President and Sister Buhrer, and commemorate the Savior’s birth.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR SKYPE ON CHRISTMAS!!! It’ll be great. Feliz Natal! J

Elder Anderson 

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