Yleiskonferenssipuheet… a.k.a. General Conference Talks
Starting emails is always the hardest thing for me… takes a bit to get some ideas flowing… welllllll… I guess let me explain the subject line. Yleiskonferenssipuheet… I had to write that way too many times this week. We were creating invitations for our investigators and some of the less actives in the ward and I kept having to start over because the words was way too long to fit onto the paper I was writing them on ha. “Yleiskonfer….” dang it out of room… “Yleiskonferenss…” ahhh not again… “Yleiskonferenssipuhee…” I quit!!! haha it was sad, so we finally gave in and ran to the library to just make them. Finnish is fun because it is like lego pieces all put together but it just makes way too long of words sometimes.
This week really was incredible. All of our investigators are growing so much, as are we. We were actually talking to one just the other night and asked a question. The answer was so beautiful that we literally looked at each other sat back and were just like mmmmk, you might as well start teaching us now! It was literally that good. And that is honestly one thing that I love most about our gospel. I feel like I may have expressed this before but I love that we are all just working together to try and help each other learn, grow, and succeed in life. To speak up when needed, and to hold back and just listen at other times. By doing both we can create an atmosphere where everyone may have the chance to be enlightened. I’m strengthened by the words of others in emails, talks, conversations, etc, etc… Which actually brings me back around to General Conference! I can’t believe it’s already time for that again! It seems like just yesterday I was with Amber driving home from Portland listening to conference. But no that was 6 months ago! and in a month I will be a 1/3 of the way through my mission… Ah! Hard to believe. I’m really excited for this weekend… we have a different schedule than the rest of you obviously because of the time change and will be watching the Women’s and one of the Saturday sessions on Saturday and then the Priesthood, Second Saturday Session, and one of the Sunday Sessions on Sunday. We’ll be watching it at the church and will most likely be watching it in English (they show it in both English and Finnish and surprisingly most of the ward actually prefers watching it in English because of it being dubbed. Ah Finns are so stupidly smart, it kills me how incredible they are with languages… and definitely makes me feel dumber when I can’t speak haha ohhhh boy…).
In other news…. mmmmm…. I honestly don’t know haha… This may just have to be a really bland letter! I’ll just sign off with a few really good thoughts. Dad (hope you don’t mind me sharing this!) sent me some thoughts/talks about the Holy Ghost last week and they were really beautiful, this story is taken from a talk by Boyd K. Packer. It was actually really cool because we ended up using this story in a lesson to help explain the Holy Ghost further… It was definitely meant to be that Dad sent this to me! (Kiitos Papi) Enjoy!
What Does Salt Taste Like?
I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell mehow you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.
Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)
When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)
Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane.”
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”
As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”
From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)
This story illustrates beautifully the problem at hand when learning to rely on faith and the spirit… It can be hard to understand because it’s hard to describe… but we can know that it is with assurance because like Boyd K. Packer says, “spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt”… This gospel is mysterious yet beautiful! I’m so grateful for it. Love you all and hope you have an incredible week, enjoy lounging in your PJ’s for Conference. I, as always, will still be in a skirt haha.