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Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear My Future Self,

I was thinking about you so, I felt impressed to take some time to write to you. I am still on my mission, and will be ending my full-time service soon. I have worked with many wonderful people here in North and South Carolina, and even a small bit in Tennessee. I know you are having times of trial. Let's face it; that is just one of the many dimensions of life. I have worked with people who have had really special, sacred experiences and have fallen away. I have heard of missionaries from this mission, with whom I have had the pleasure to serve, falling away soon after their return home. I don't want the same thing to happen to you. Nobody comes off of their mission with the intent to break commandments, go inactive, or even leave the church; but it happens. If you are on that path, you may not want to read this, but take some time, a couple of minutes, to hear me out. If you ever find yourself on this path, it is not one that will lead to everlasting happiness. Brother Stephenson shared a fantastic Chinese proverb. Remember it? "He who find happiness in vice, and misery in virtue is a novice to both." The first and foremost thing I want to share with you is that God exists. I didn't learn that on my mission, but have experienced it. He is our loving Father. It was difficult for me to really comprehend what a child's relationship was to his father before my baptism, mostly because I didn't grow-up with one. This mission has taught me more about OUR relationship with Him. He is the ultimate provider of everything, including the feelings of love in your heart. I wish I could share with you everything, but I am afraid I don't have the time or patience, perhaps you're better at that than I am. But, without His love, it is impossible for you to love anyone else. So, my exhortation to you is to follow the first and foremost commandment, "thou shalt the the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and strength." Yes, that even includes placing God before social activities, people (including family and friends—even girlfriends), and anything else. When asked by anyone "who/what will you love more: God or (insert someone or something else)?" Without hesitation, the answer should be "God."
God loves you more than you could ever know, and as a result has given you the opportunity for mercy, through His Son, your Big Brother, Jesus Christ. I can remember all the duties I have as a big brother to my siblings. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior, and yours, and to access His Atonement and have lasting conversion you must apply the Doctrine of Christ, most importantly, you can't just do it for yourself. You must invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (Missionary Purpose, Preach My Gospel pg 1). Elder David A. Bednar once said to a small group of missionaries, "Let me give you some Apostolic advice: 'Never leave your mission." As my friend Elder Jaden Davis observed, "In my study of the tree of life vision I learned that missionary work helps keep us from being ashamed that we have partaken of the fruit. When we share the Gospel we renew our appreciation for what it has done for us and are less likely to fall to temptation and be concerned with what the world thinks. Lehi desired to share the Gospel fruit with his family members and remained faithful. Nephi diligently searched to know the will of God and shared that with his posterity and his brethren. Jacob and all the rest of the prophets and missionaries in the Book of Mormon did the same. The Anti-Nephi-Lehis even shared the Gospel when they would not take up arms against their brethren even at the cost of their own lives. As a result many people were converted and never did fall away. When we share the Gospel with others, we invite the strength of the Gospel into our own lives and are not ashamed of partaking of the Fruit of the Tree of Life."

There are three pillars of the church. The first and foremost is pillar is to "preach the Gospel."
Now, it may be difficult to find friend with whom you can share the gospel in Idaho. The other fulfilling the other two pillars will help in the missionary purpose: "Redeeming the dead," and "Perfecting the Saints." You must seek those ancestors to find who you are and where you came from. I have had some experience with the sacred Spirit which comes with learning of my ancestry, but as a missionary, I have limited resources. My invitation to you is to utilize the resources I cannot currently use. I know you will know what to do after that. I testify that when you preach the gospel, and save the dead, you are perfecting the saints, including yourself. (Moroni 7:48) so keep looking to the future. And "be... Therefore perfect." I testify absolute truth exists despite the world denying the existence of one truth. This is the only true church on the face of the earth, and Christ is the head of it. He is my savior. It is a true privilege He has allowed me to serve him in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission.

With Love,
Elder Sheldon Moss

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