Letter From Mormon Missionary Puts the Recent Push for More Transparency on Display

I stumbled across this letter a missionary sent his parent who then posted it on the family blog:

Dear Fam,
Oh, the blessings of being on the mission! They are immeasurable. We are putty in God’s hands and he is shaping me into someone who lives to serve Him!
We are now six weeks into the new initiative that the Lord has laid out for us. It was so amazing to listen to his Prophet, even Thomas Spencer Monson, announce to the world this new, more accurate missionary lessons! Even though his mumbling was so strong that we all had to read the subtitles of the announcement, I have no doubt in my entire body that he communicates with Father. I mean, how cool is it that we there is a man on this earth with our Heavenly Father on speed dial?!?!
This week was full of sooooooo many blessings!! I want to tell you all about them.
On Monday we taught Jane the third discussion. It was TOTES spiritual! God places people in our paths at the exact time and place they need. Jane has been such a faithful investigator. She doesn’t have a job right now and struggles to find an employer who will let her work for more than a few days at a time, but she loves church and relief society. She thinks it is so awesome that the church helps its less fortunate members out!
Anyway, we were kind of nervous for this one since we had to talk about polygamy, but the Elder’s Quorum President was with us and assured it was going to be easy (he actually hadn’t seen the new discussions and just thought we were going to tell her that if she reads anything on the internet about polygamy that she should just ignore the haters and have faith).
We prayed and did our best to set the mood for the spirit to be there, and it worked! We started asking her if she knew what polygamy was and she seemed to kind of know. The EQP told her that in the early church sometimes men married more than one woman so they could take care of all the widows. She actually liked that idea! It made things a little more comfortable. We told her about Fanny Alger and how she had the honor of being the first polygamous wife in this modern dispensation. We also told her that Joseph Smith struggled to get the early saints to accept this commandment and that even sometimes Emma did not support it. It all went pretty good even though the EQP seemed a little uncomfortable, probably because when we were done she asked if today any men ever practice polygamy to take care of women in need. We all laughed….she has an awesome sense of humor!
She is still set for baptism and she will be a huge asset to the ward!!
On Wednesday we met with the Gonzalez family. Such humble people. Brother Gonzalez is such a hard worker and he has obviously sacrificed so much to bring his family to this country for a better life. He is such an inspiration. The Bishop came with us and bore such a strong testimony! He did misspeak a little but his heart was in the right place. He told them they are so lucky to have learned about the gospel and now they can learn about their ancestors in the Book of Mormon. We knew where he was going but my companion was able to smoothly cut him off and explain that since the whole human race is all related back to Adam, that they could read about early civilizations previously unknown to the world that were part of our big happy family tree!
It was not too awkward when the Bishop tried to correct us and say that they were direct descendants of the people written about in the book. At one point he went to the bathroom and we let them know that he was confused and that this was not the case. That is exactly how our Mission President told us to handle these types of situations. How inspired is he that he was able to prepare us for this exact moment?!?!?!
Brother Gonzalez said that he knew lots of Mormons back in Guatemala and they would always say the same thing as the Bishop but I assured him that it was just a cultural myth and that the church had never actually taught that. He seemed satisfied and they are still planning on getting baptized!
On Friday we actually had a member referral! How awesome is that??? And it was a good reminder that not everyone is ready to accept this gospel. Brother Jensen referred us to his coworker at the CPA firm he works at. The guy’s name is Jim and he is married with 2 kids. Guys, he is loaded!!! His house is so awesome. There is a pool in the backyard and he seems like such a loving father and husband! Like, he could already be a Mormon. Honestly, when we met him I thought it would go better.
When he answered the door he seemed a little surprised and when we told him that Brother Jensen had sent us over he rolled his eyes. That should have been a clue, but the spirit was so strong! Anyway, he was kind enough to let us in. We started telling him about the Book of Mormon and how it was so miraculous that we have it to read in these last days! He asked why it was so miraculous and we told him all about how Joseph had the special rock he had found while working and how that rock helped him know the words to write.
Unfortunately, he kind of laughed and it took away the spirit a little. I testified that there are no coincidences and that God had put that rock in Joseph’s path and what other explanation could there be!? He started asking all these questions about the translation process and we tried to tell him he was not focusing on what was important. He just did not seem to get it. He was over thinking things!
It really is sad how our worldly learning and success can make a person think they know everything!
I am so grateful that you all raised me right and told me the importance of following the Prophet no matter what. I now have the spiritual foundation that will keep my testimony strong for the rest of my life!!!
President Christensen met with all the missionaries the other day. How awesome it was to get to listen to that man! He is so amazing!! He was showing us pictures of his BMW from back home, such a cool car! I want one now. He is such a humble man, you would never guess that he had stuff like that! I want to be just like him after my mission. He is always telling us how the Lord led him to those oils and commanded him to start his business. He did not know at the time, but now he knows that it was so he can bless everyone’s lives in so many ways.
What a spiritual giant!!!
I love all of you so much and I know this church is true!
Love,
Elder Smith

Ryan McKnight has a Master’s Degree in Accounting from UNLV. He is a regulatory auditor for the government, an Adjunct Professor at the local Community College and the co-founder of The Truth and Transparency Foundation which operates MormonLeaks.io and FaithLeaks.org.