Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Thomas Paine wrote in his treatise titled The Crisis, "THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God." With in days of it being published, Washington had this read among his soldiers. Thomas Paine couldn't win the battle for them. He couldn't give them warmth or food or shelter. But what he did was more than all of that. His words gave them the morale to continue on; to live to fight another day. George Washington, the bold genius, devised a plan that would save this young country and ultimately lead to their victory over the war. In the middle of a frigid Christmas night, American troops gathered together in a variety of boats. As they navigated men, artillery, and even horses through the blocks of ice floating through the river, Colonel Henry Knox commented that the crossing was accomplished "with almost infinite difficulty." Following their landing Washington gathered his men and commenced to what is now known as the Battle of Trenton. He easily captured the Hessian troops in about 90 minutes and though their position less than ideal continued their fight. Lord Cornwallis of the British army took notice of his position in Princeton and thought he had Washington pinned between Trenton and the Delaware. Much to Lord Cornwallis’ dismay, before the next morning Washington had forged and carried out yet another movement in which American soldiers left fires burning bright through the night and, moving silently, attacked the British army and secured a position in which they could rest and regain strength. Though the war didn't cease till October of 1781, this moment in American history turned the momentum of the war and led to the triumph of this Young American country.
Men had fought long and hard with many giving their lives for the cause. Wives were left widows, children were left fatherless and fathers lost sons in the treacherous battles. The reason for this war was Freedom. Britain, their mother country, was imposing unfair taxes in attempts to raise money for debts acquired in a previous war. British Parliament in reaction to American boycott’s passed what is known as the Declaratory Act in which they stated that Britain had “full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever". Though American colonies weren’t represented in Parliament, Britain assumed the right to make laws and changes to colonial government. The patriots weren't having it. They decided to lash out in rebellion for a cause that they knew to be right. No man was to be "bound in all cases whatsoever". That right belonged to God only, and even He, the greatest of all, grants unto us our agency, the Freedom to choose. Today we are in a battle similar to the one our forefathers were waged in. But this battle began years and years ago. In the council before this world began, our Father in Heaven called all of his spirit children together to discuss plans for earth life. He presented to us the opportunity to leave our heavenly home and come to earth to get a body. He told us of the choices we would have to make while here in this life. One, Lucifer, presented his plan. He said he would come down to earth and he would force everyone to follow God. It was too risky in his eyes to let people come to earth and have that chance to mess up. With his plan no one would be lost. God could have all of his children again. But we wouldn't learn and we certainly wouldn't be free. Lucifer wanted all the glory. He wanted the praise and power. This was opposite to the plan God had envisioned. Christ stepped forward and offered himself. His plan was for everyone to comedown to earth and be given the freedom to make their own choices. We would all make bad choices in our lives so he offered that he himself would come down and live a perfect life. He would then give himself up as an infinite and eternal sacrifice so that, if we chose to do so, we could accept and allow him to redeem us from that fallen state. It was clear as it which choice was the right one. Satan was furious and gathered as many followers as he could to side with him to rebel against God and Christ. For their rebellion, God cast Satan and a third of those in heaven down to earth with out bodies. We know which side we chose because we are here today with a mortal body. Each of us has made that one right choice in our lives. No matter how bad anyone has screwed up they can know that at one time they made one right choice. The war in heaven was all about choices. Just like our forefather, it began because of Freedom; Freedom to choose.
That war that began long ago is still long from being over. Satan tries to persuade us to make wrong decisions all the time. Rarely are we free from his temptations. He is miserable and he wants us to be miserable with him. There are choices we have to make everyday of our lives. Some of them don't really matter in an eternal aspect. Such as, What should I wear to work today? or What kind of cereal should I eat for breakfast? Some of them are a lot harder like, Who should I Marry?, What should I study in school?, or even, Should I keep watching this show even though it is a little dirty? Some of these decisions won't make a difference two weeks from now. No one cares that I wore a pink shirt to work last week. But others like, who should I marry, could impact us for the rest of forever. It’s all about choices and I think for most of us we make the right ones. I feel like most of us try to use good language and listen to good music. Most of us want to marry someone with similar standards as our own. But I also feel like we tend to shy away from making the "big" decisions we are required to make. It is intimidating to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life as a career. It’s intimidating to decide what you want to study in school to get you there. It’s even intimidating to make that final leap into marriage. Fortunately we don't have to make these choices on our own. Satan wants us to choose those options that will lead us to failure but God is rooting for us. It’s the final inning today and I’m not sure if God wears hats but if he did I’m sure he’d have his rally cap on. He wants to help us but we have to access the help he’s given us. He has given us many tools to find answers to many of life’s questions. We have the scriptures for example. They answer questions that man has been faced with since the days of Adam. We have the words of modern prophets to guide us on matters of today. And the one I feel is most important is a direct communication with God in prayer. I was able to gain a strong testimony of prayer early on in my mission but it was strengthened more as I was finishing it. In returning home from my mission just a short while ago, I was faced with a lot of these important life forming decisions. About a month before coming home, my Mission President had all the missionaries going home in my group fill out a return home plan. In it included what my vision was for my future family, career, and church service. It also asked for goals that would aid me on my way to creating that vision and then action items to achieve those goals. I felt super overwhelmed, so I began with a prayer that God would comfort me as well as help me know what a worthy and realistic vision was for my life. I immediately felt comfort. The choices were still there to be made but God had comforted me so I continued filling it out and I felt his help as I did so. But even after that experience, returning home was scary. It’s easy to write it and read it on paper but I actually had to start doing those things. So I prayed some more to ask God what exactly he would like me to be doing. In the month and a half proceeding my return home I have been blessed with many opportunities that I believe God has given me as answers to those humble prayers. I have been blessed with a good job that I can later make into a career which has also helped me decide what to study in school. I have been presented with schooling opportunities by people who care about me which has helped me decide what will be right for me in where I should attend school. I have seen God's subtle hand in my life and in answering these questions I’ve been presented with and I feel extremely blessed. But making these important choices isn't all Satan is trying to attack us with.
I think one of Satan's biggest weapons of today is getting people to do nothing at all. So many people today think they can get away with doing nothing and still get something out of it. The saddest part is that there are many politicians trying to make that easier for them! Too many people rely on Government hand outs. Much of the working class today is paying to provide for those who don't do anything at all. This is not what our forefathers were envisioning when they framed our country. From modern revelation we learn that the founding fathers of this country were inspired in the choices they made. In the Declaration of Independence we read "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"... That we are endowed by our creator is a religious principle that we believe in. To be endowed means to be given a gift or provided for. So what our forefathers, being inspired, were trying to tell us was that we are provided for by our Father who is in Heaven. The government can only do so much for people. They have limited resources and, quite frankly, too hard of hearts to impact the needs of the world today. God is the only one that can give us what we need. We are living in pretty hard times right now and I believe things are only going to get harder. But you know what they say... "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going". Ok that doesn't apply at all to this situation really. But it kind of does. When things start getting real tough, we need to be the ones out there fighting for what’s right. The more horrible the world gets, the more righteous God’s people will get. Let’s refer back to the writing of Thomas Paine. "THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country..." I feel like NOW is the time that is really trying men's souls. There is so much for us to worry about and though we might not be "shrinking from the service of our country", scripture has alerted us that in these last days "men's hearts will fail them". The Summer Saint or maybe the Part-Time Priesthood holder might fall under the pressure. It is just too hard to do it on our own. We need God's help. But that endowment from God doesn't just come with out any effort on our part. We have to work for the blessings of heaven. We learn from the scriptures that when we receive any blessing it is because we were obedient to some commandment (D&C 130:20-21). So to be endowed we need to act, to make those choices, to do what’s right. I learned this lesson early on in my mission while serving in my first area. My companion and I were working hard to find people to teach and baptize but we weren’t seeing too much success. One week our Zone Leaders came to us and asked us why we weren’t reaching all of our goals. We had been asked to talk to 125 people out on the streets a week and we were only talking to maybe 50 in a week. They promised us that if we did all we could to reach those goals and to do our part God would provide. So we put it to the test and worked super hard. We talked to as many people as possible every day and by Friday evening we had talked to our 125. That Saturday we were on exchanges but my companion and the missionary he was with had a huge miracle in our area that I was able to feel the blessings from. They went to a return appointment that we had set up earlier in the week with a younger guy with a young family. When they got there the family was in the process of moving. The guy wasn’t home but his dad was and he wanted to talk. Usually when people want to talk it is usually either really good and they will get baptized or its bad and they want to bash. This guy wanted to bash. So though they shouldn’t have, they did bash with him. About 5 min. into their bash a man in a shiny silver convertible pulled up to the driveway and just stared at them. He was a grungy looking guy, wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off. He was covered in tattoos and had a fatty goat-tee with an athletic build. All those combined with driving a nice sports car make him look pretty intimidating. They thought he might be the guy’s buddy coming to take care of them if they beat him in the bash but after five min. he drove off and they continued their bashing. About 20 min. later, as they were finishing up their conversation with the kid’s dad the same scary man drove up and they thought ok here it comes. What happened next they did not expect. He called them by Elder and introduced himself as Jim Jordan. He told them about his wife named Julie who struggled with medical issues. She suffered from severe migraines and had been in and out of the hospital quite a few times in the past couple of weeks and it was taking a toll on their family. He asked them if they would come over and give her a blessing around 1 and afterwards they would talk some more. They scheduled it in and continued on with their day but only a few minutes later, at 11, Jim called and asked if they had time right then to come over. They did, so they went over and after giving Julie a blessing Jim told them that he wasn’t a member but Julie was. He had been taking the lessons a few years earlier while living in a smaller town named Davis. He loved the church and even though the members were a little weird he wanted to be baptized. So the missionaries began preparing him and his daughters for their interviews. While in the interview they found out that he was on parole which would keep him from being baptized at that time. The missionaries didn’t handle it as well as they should have and he was a little offended so he and his family stopped attending church. Well a few years later and over his parole he had the same desire as before to join the church. He later introduced us to his two young daughters Mikayla who was 13 and McKenna who was 10 and he said they were ready to be baptized as well. When I met them for the first time he asked me, “So what has to happen for us to be baptized because we’re ready?” We explained to him what would happen and they were excited. He said he had wanted to talk to missionaries for a while but he couldn’t ever find them but that day when he went out to get some groceries and medicine for his wife he saw them standing there on the drive-way of the bashing man’s house. He waited for a while but got nervous so he just left and told himself that if they were still there when he was coming back, he would talk to them for sure. It was a huge miracle that Jim was able to find us and that they were that ready to be taught. We only received that blessing from God because we did what was asked of us. Jim, Mikayla, and McKenna were all baptized about 5 weeks later and it was the first baptisms of my mission. God has given us the freedom to act for ourselves. Countless numbers of men and woman have given their lives to preserve that freedom. Many more still fight today with that same drive. It would be disrespect to those who lost their lives in preserving this great cause if we just sat here doing nothing. The government can't help us. Only God can and to receive that help we have to use that freedom of choice that was given to us way back in the pre-mortal existence.
I think Thomas Paine said it pretty good when he said "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods..." Essentially, the more work it takes to accomplish something, the greater the reward in the end. The prophet Joseph Smith was given the same promise in a revelation recorded now as D&C 121:7-8 “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; though shalt triumph over all thy foes.” At this time when our country celebrates the heroic acts of the many men and woman who have fought and now fight so we can continue to have the freedom that we fought for before this life, let us make a choice, the right choice. Let us do something. Let us be something. These things I know to be true and you can too. Good day sir.
Monday, May 14, 2012
His homecoming talk will be Sunday, May 27th at 8:30 am at the Stake Center on Brown Road in between Gilbert and Lindsay Roads.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett
Monday, April 30, 2012
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett
Monday, April 23, 2012
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett
Monday, April 16, 2012
April 16th 2012
You know mom it’s kind of funny that you should mention the Ghana thing. There is a guy in my ward, Brother Cobbinah who taught our Sunday school class one week and he is from Ghana. He was there when all of that happened. He is in a book that the church used to make that talks about it. He was the second person in Ghana that got a book of Mormon for the group. He said on the first day the church came there 82 people got baptized. They had full on branches and stuff before the church even got there. So that is pretty cool. It was there family that we had Easter Dinner with. They are a super cool family, maybe I’ll introduce you to them when you come here. They always make me sing my Phantom of the Opera. So about the dinner thing. It is against the rules unless i get permission for it which probably won't happen. When the Reidheads came i just didn't ask but i am trying to be obedient till the end so i don't think it would work out. And i don't think they would let you take Elder Stradling and Elder Jones out, but you will get to meet Elder Jones. So that is a bummer but we are blessed for our obedience. Elder Heaton does just about anything anyone could think of. He played Football in high school as a running back and he did other sports. But he is also a fitness and health fanatic. He is from Idaho Falls, Idaho. So yeah thats that. This week was great! A lot of things have changed in the mission over this past week which i am totally stoked about because now i can work a ton harder! Also Elder Heaton and I made some new awesome friends. Last Monday night we had dinner with the Pinnegar family. Now there are like fifty billion Pinnegar families in our ward. The parents who are kind of old. Then they have three married sons who all live in the ward and they all live on the same street... So it’s pretty confusing. We had dinner with Jason and Anita which is what i will now refer to them as from here on out. So they had signed up on our calendar and in talking to them we realized that they were actually pretty cool. So that was cool. Towards the end of dinner they said they would take us for dinner that Wednesday because we didn't have a dinner so that was real cool. On Tuesday we worked our butts off. We were told sometime in the morning that someone from the MTC was visiting and was giving a training to President Lewis and his assistants and one of them wanted to come out with Elder Heaton and i to teach people and then to come home with us and plan at night so we cleaned our apartment during lunch. Well they said that President Lewis was the one that would come with us so we met a couple of people that day and set up some appointments for that evening and they were really good. The first was Tina who had taken the lessons from the missionaries before but she couldn't quit smoking so she stopped taking the lessons. We had a good lesson with her but she canceled our return visit later in the week and said she wasn't ready yet. Then we taught Larry who was a guy we had knocked into. When we had first met him he was super great and asked a lot of good questions and was excited for us to come back but when we came back he didn't want to meet but he let us in any ways and the first thing he said was that he would say no but he wanted to know why we thought he should join our church. Well we went in and started talking and found out he didn't believe in God so we talked about that and he started asking some more questions again. He asked why we do what we do and what incentive there is for us and we told him why we were there and what we believe and he was amazed. The lesson was good but when we offered to come back again he said no and that he didn't want us knocking on his door anymore but we persisted and finally got him to let us come back just to say hi. Well when we went back later in the week he warmed right back up to us and invited us in and we had a great conversation on repentance and forgiveness of sin. At the end of that lesson he told us we could come by anytime so things sure changed. I think the spirit worked on him. We had our District Meeting on Wednesday which was good. Elder Heaton prepared a cool training so it was fun. When we went to dinner Wednesday night Jason and Anita said that they were going to cover for his parents who were supposed to feed us on Saturday but couldn't so they were asking what we wanted to eat and we asked what was an option and they said well our breeding rabbit outside is infertile so we are going to eat him soon so you want to have that. Well Elder Heaton has killed and eaten a lot of Rabbits so he said he would love to and i have never had rabbit so i said of course as well. Well they had never butchered a rabbit so Elder Heaton offered to teach them how so we went back on Friday and had a hay day. I actually killed it... We stuck a bar behind its head and i grabbed it by the back legs and pulled it real hard and it broke its neck. Then Elder Heaton taught them how to do everything else. So that was fun. Don't worry, i got a lot of pictures. We had it for dinner on Saturday and it tasted amazing! It was like a really good moist turkey. So i like Rabbit and they said it’s the most lean meat. Well in being around Jason and Anita so much this week we realized that they are super cool people and they are now our friends! We love them. But Jason is leaving on the 26th or 28th i can't remember. He is in the military and he has a 6 month training in i think Georgia so that’s a bummer but we still have some time left with him. So they are now some of our best friends. On Thursday the MTC guys gave a training for all the District and Zone Leaders. It was awesome. They were freaking hilarious and super bold with us. They said our mission is having a lot of pointless meetings which is true. They said they noticed that we even had some meetings to plan for other meetings that we weren't even supposed to be having. So they cut out a lot of our meetings. They said our leaders were doing way too much administering rather than ministering. They told us what our new role as Zone Leaders is. Basically they said just be the best missionaries in the mission. They said our first focus is to baptize in our area. Then to bring other missionaries into our area and show them how to baptize. We don't do anymore trainings at District Meeting. We actually don't even meet as a zone anymore except to play sports on pday. They want us to rotate each week going to the districts district meeting. So it’s pretty cool. They took away a lot of Managing responsibilities and are just having us lead by example. They also told us to stop focusing on baptismal invites which is funny cuz i just talked about it last week. They just want us to baptize people. They want our mission to double our baptisms and i am going to do everything i can to do it in my area till i go home. I asked President Lewis if i could stay and he said he wanted me to but i couldn't. So I’ll be coming home the same time. So yeah that was basically our week. We are super excited to work hard and baptize more people. So yeah. I love how all of the previous email talked about Porter. He sounds like a stud but i would like to hear about other people. I now i am coming home soon but i like knowing what’s going on. So yeah. I love you! Bye!
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett
Monday, April 9, 2012
April 9th 2012
This week sounded eventful. Well not really actually. But it sounded like everyone had fun. Our week was pretty good. We worked our freaking butt's off. Since Elder Fitt was being transferred, we spent the rest of the night after dinner to get him all packed up and what not. On Wednesday morning we went to the mission office bright and early to wait for my new companion Elder Heaton. He got there about nine and we hung around with some of the missionaries that were going home the next day. A lot of them are my good friends so i wanted to say bye to them. We were able to be in the meeting where the new missionaries get their trainers. I love that meeting, especially having seen it from all sides. Being the new missionary, being the trainer, and just being a bystander. Its fun to watch and it’s exciting to see the missionaries. There was a HUGE kid from Samoa there that played football for UofA before he came out. The kid is giant! But he seems nice and is going to the Tongan ward. We went out to lunch with Jake Larson. He was the son of the people that Elder Jones and I had thanksgiving with. The mom called Jackie to tell her i could skype. I love their family. Elder Heaton was in their ward for 6 months so they love him as well. We went to Chipotle which i love! We had a good leadership meeting after lunch and our District Leaders are awesome! One of them is a brand new District Leader. He was in North Sac when i was there and he has grown so much and is a great leader. Elder Heaton and I don't have very many people to teach so we have been visiting a lot of people. We tract a butt load all day and see random people that are potential investigators and less active and part member families. It’s so nice to work hard again! We want to find a lot of people and one of the things we are asked to do as missionaries is to invite people to be baptized the way its outlined in Preach My Gospel. We call them invites and we record them as numbers that we keep track of. We are asked to get 3 per missionary per day which is 42 in a week for a companionship. Invites are probably the easiest things to do but no one does them. They don't think that it will lead to anything. I don't know if any of you have read 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. I have earlier in my mission which i was supposed to but i took a butt load of notes on it and i use them for training and stuff. Well in the book they talk about the Circles of Concern and Influence. Everything we are concerned about that we worry or think about is in our circle of concern but only those things we can directly control are in our circle of influence. Well the more you concentrate on your circle of influence the more it encompasses things in your circle of concern, like baptisms. So we decided a long time ago when i was in North Sac that invites are the easiest thing in our circle of influence to control. We just have to get them. Well when we do we baptize and when we don't get them we don't baptize. So Elder Heaton and I instead of getting the 42 this week we got 91 which is a butt load and it means we had to talk to 91 people long enough for them to understand our message and to decide whether they want to be baptized or not after us inviting them of course. So that was insane and it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Our goal for this week is 150 which will stretch us a bunch. My record is 106 when i was with Elder Manukailea. We worked super hard for that one. So yeah thats basically what Elder Heaton and I did all week. We tracted a butt load of houses. Apartments, neighborhoods, random people in parking lots. Everyone. It was fun. We had a Mission Leaders Council on Friday morning. It was fun. I love getting together with all the leaders in the mission because most of them are my friends. So yeah this week was great. I love Elder Heaton. I couldn't have asked for a better companion to finish my mission with. I'm still trying to figure out what i did to deserve this. Its so nice to have someone that is not only willing but pushing for obedience and hard work the same as you are. And he loves having fun and telling stories. He will probably be my second favorite companion after Elder Jones. Elder Heaton though is huge into fitness and stuff. He has me on a new Low Carb. diet. Its great and i feel so healthy and I’m losing weight again after my plateau. And he helps me on what work outs i should do to get the results. He is super skinny, like 165 lbs. but he is ripped out of his mind. So its fun as well. We get along so good and we love a lot of the same things. So yeah i am being extremely blessed right now. Well yeah that was my week. I hope everyone is having a good time in sunny AZ. Its warming up a little here. Finally. But its still only in the 70's. I love it though. Well i love you. Bye!
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett