Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prophets and Prayer

An interesting week. We got to do some yard work, which I've enjoyed more and more since becoming a missionary.

Well, a man and his wife moved here a few years ago from southwest Korea. His son converted to the Church, served a mission in Los Angeles, and is now attending BYU-Provo. The parents aren't members, but they had us and a foreign member of our branch (she's an English teacher) over to help with their big garden. The father is good at English and works at the Hyundai shipyard/headquarters in Ulsan (huge shipyards...biggest in the world apparently).

We dug a lot of peanuts...a lot...then shook the dirt off of them and then pulled them off of the roots. They need to be washed and dried, and then you can eat them. Interesting. They offered to give us some, then took us out for lunch and fed us a lot of soup (oyster?) and meat.

We started an English class specifically for high school/college students at our church now. Kind of sketchy, given our mission's history, but we did it mostly because we have a lot of students in our branch. It would be good if they could bring friends and spend time with the missionaries.

So we were walking down the street and a man selling shoes stopped us. He was reading a Bible and had some questions for us. He asked us why we were carrying the Book of Mormon around instead of the Bible. That led to a 30-minute conversation about our beliefs. We pulled out our Bible and assured him that we preach the WHOLE gospel of Christ. We talked about Prophets. We testified that God calls prophets to lead and teach His children, and that those prophets write records. (That's what the Bible and Book of Mormon are: records of ancient prophets).

He said "no, there is no other word of God outside of the Bible". I asked him if he thinks God loves us. He said yes. Then I said "well, because He loves us He has more things He wants to say to us than that which is in the Bible." We explained that Moses wrote five books of the Bible, but God had more to say...Isaiah has his record, but God had more to say...we have the Gospels, but God had more to say...we have the records of Paul and the Apostles...but God had and will always have MORE TO SAY...because He loves us. It is neither logical nor doctrinal to claim that God's words and teachings ceased with the writings that King James' scribes chose to include in the present day "Bible".

I asked him if he knew the English word "Bible" and what it means. I explained that it means divine library, then asked him what a library contains. Books. The Bible is a collection of books. It is a collection of the writings of prophets called of God. That's what the Book of Mormon is. There is no doctrinal foundation for a closed canon containing only the magical number of "66 books" contained in our present-day Bible. God loves us more than that. We should be hungry for any words He has for us.

Since he had a testimony of prayer and the Holy Ghost, we asked him to read a little of the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He accepted, and then said that since he can't really trust prayer all that much, he'd have to read the Bible too and he knows that the Bible will tell him that the Book of Mormon is wrong. We will meet with him again and review a few things.

I testify of God's love for us. I know that His words to Israel didn't cease with Moses, nor with the Apostle Paul. God's continuous work and glory is to help all of His children return to Him. In 1820 he called Joseph Smith, a young farm boy in upstate New York, as His prophet in these last days. He gave us the Book of Mormon, a collection of prophetic writings, and ushered in the Restoration of Christ's true church. In this same manner was Moses called, and in this same manner were the children of Israel led. I trust prayer (my personal communication with Heavenly Father) more than any other method of learning truth. All people can read the words of God's prophets, both in the Bible and Book of Mormon, pray about them, and receive their own answers. God loves His children now just as much as He did then, and is still willing to work miracles for their benefit. Those who doubt this should take another look at the Bible. :)

I love this work. The Church is true!

Love, Elder Bocchino

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