Finley's farewell was today. He gave a wonderful talk about following a living prophet as a missionary. He is the first grandchild to leave on a mission. He will definitely have some cousins watching his example!
After, the family headed over to our home for brunch and to say "Good-Bye"...
Some are going to miss Finley quite a bit, and oh how they will change while he's gone! And, so will he!
Some family wasn't able to be there, but we got early hugs and Skype calls...
It is customary when young men and women are ready to leave on their missions that they give a 10-15 minute talk during our church services. He had a few friends and many family members come listen to him. Most of his friends have left on their missions or gone away to school. Finley gave a wonderful talk. He was given the topic of "Following a Living Prophet." He incorporated his decision of going on a mission into that topic. You may read it below:
In the past, all of my
favorite missionary farewell talks have started with jokes. I only know two
jokes, and they’re both kind of dirty, so I went to my dad for help, and now
lets just say I know 3 dirty jokes.
A couple years ago, in the
summer before my junior year of high school, a few friends and I went to BYU
for a week at EFY. The morning before everybody left to go home, our counselors
gathered us together for one last time so that they could say goodbye, and bear
their testimonies to us. The one and only thing I remember from that meeting,
is my female counselor telling us boys that we should serve missions, because first
and foremost, it’s our Priesthood duty. That stuck with me, and I guess it
stuck with everybody else, because every single guy in that company is either
on a mission, or getting ready to go out. So as much as my mom would love to
say that I’m serving a mission because of her, it was the testimony of that
sister that really compelled me to go serve.
Before that, I had never
thought seriously about serving a mission. It had always been far off in my
future, not really something I focused on. Sure, I knew that I’d most likely
serve one, seeing as my dad and all of my uncles had, and I wasn’t about to
break that chain. Even after my week at EFY, a mission wasn’t something that I
thought about often. It wasn’t until the “Age Change” a couple years back that
it struck me how soon I would have to go on a mission. I initially decided that
I would do a year at college, and then leave on a mission. After looking at
schools and figuring out which ones interested me, I realized that there was no
way I could stop after a year and take two years off.
I had a difficult
decision to make. It was a mission, and then college, or no mission at all. I
really can’t remember how long it took me to decide. At some point while I was
weighing the pros and cons of each situation, I remembered what my counselor
said. Right then and there, I decided that I needed to serve a mission. A few
weeks later I was flipping through my scriptures at seminary, and I found a
verse in the Doctrine and Covenants that stood out to me. Its D&C 60,
verses one and two. It reads 1 “Behold, thus saith
the Lord unto the elders of his church, who are to return speedily to the land
from whence they came: Behold, it pleaseth me, that you have come up hither;
2 But with some I am
not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide thetalentwhich I have given unto them, because
of thefearof man. Wo unto such, for mineangeris kindledagainst them.”That scared me a bit, but it just reinforced
my recent decision to serve.
My counselor was just
repeating what prophets have been saying since the formation of the church:
That missionaries are absolutely necessary in the world, and that it is
important to be able to serve a mission. In the April conference of 1974, President
Ezra Taft Benson said, “This is our first interest
as a Church—to save and exalt the souls of the children of men.” The
Lord’s church has always been a missionary church; it isn’t anything new. When
the savior was on the earth, he ordained apostles and seventies and gave them
the authority and responsibility to preach the gospel.Eventually, all of those whom Christ ordained
died off, and the authority to preach was lost. That authority was restored to
the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. Today, the chief responsibility of
apostles and seventies is to preach the gospel and see that it is preached
throughout the world. The first modern missionary left home to serve in June of
1830. Since then, over a million missionaries have been called and sent forth
to preach the gospel. Missionaries preach that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
and our Savior. They testify that the gospel has been restored to the earth
through a prophet of God. The missionaries are given the responsibility to
preach the gospel to all people, to baptize them, and to teach them to do all
things that the Lord has commanded.
Prophets have commanded us to serve missions,
but they do much more than just that. Prophets offer guidance and direction for
those willing to listen. They receive revelation for the members of the church.
Prophets receive revelation that is immediately relevant: and it is constant.
President John Taylor taught that Adam’s revelation did not tell Noah to build
the ark, nor did Noah’s revelation tell Lot to leave Sodom. And neither of
these men spoke of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. They received
revelation for themselves.
Heavenly revelation has been a necessity in
the past, and is a necessity in modern times. In the time before world war two,
President Hugh B Brown of the first presidency was speaking to a member of the
British parliament, who was not a member of the church, about the need for a
living prophet and the revelation that he receives. President Brown said to the
man, ‘I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard procedure
in Bible times for God to talk to men.’
responded,] ‘I think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first
century of the Christian era.’
do you think it stopped?’
think that God hasn’t spoken since then?’
to my knowledge.’
I suggest some possible reasons why he has not spoken. Perhaps it is because he
cannot. He has lost the power.’
man said, ‘Of course that would be blasphemous.’
“‘Well, then, if you don’t accept that,
perhaps he doesn’t speak to men because he doesn’t love us anymore. He is no
longer interested in the affairs of men.’
he said, ‘God loves all men, and he is no respecter of persons.’
“‘Well, . . . then the only other possible
answer as I see it is that we don’t need him. We have made such rapid strides
in education and science that we don’t need God anymore.’
man then said, and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war, ‘Mr.
Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God
was needed as it is needed now.
Through prophets, we are
taught the will of the lord. We receive commandments that the lord wishes us to
follow. One that stands out to me is the Word of Wisdom. Given to the prophet
Joseph Smith in 1833, it contains revelation that has guided members of the
church ever since. A basic health plan given to members, it encourages the
consumption of grains and fruits, and warns against the use of alcohol and tobacco.
The word of wisdom was ahead of its time, as modern science did not realize the
dangers of tobacco and alcohol until much later. We are told that if we follow
the word of wisdom, we will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint. I
think that that is a pretty fantastic promise.
The Lord regularly
communicates with his prophets. Amos 3:7 reads, “surely the Lord god will do
nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” One of
the few songs that I actually remember from primary is “Follow the Prophet”. In
case you don’t know the song, or have forgotten the words, the last verse, and
the chorus go: “ Now we have a world where people are confused// if you don’t
believe it, go and watch the news// we can get direction all along our way// if
we heed the prophets- follow what they say,
Follow the prophet, follow
the prophet, follow the prophet, don’t go astray// follow the prophet, follow
the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the way.”
In 1980, President Ezra Taft
Benson gave a devotional to BYU students. It was titled “Fourteen fundamentals
in following the prophet.” He outlined key points that will help us as saints
realize the value of a living prophet and the importance of following his
counsel. I don’t want to take up too much time, so I’ll only list a few. The
first point he made was that the prophet is the only man who speaks for the
lord in everything. D&C 21, verses 4-6 tell us that if we follow the
prophet and obey his words, the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. He
also says that a living prophet is more important to us than a dead one. Like I
said earlier, God’s revelations to Adam didn’t tell Noah to build the ark. The
prophet gives us revelation for what is happening today. The prophet
tells us what we need to know, but not always what we want to know. President
Harold B Lee said, “You may not like what comes
from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It
may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social
life. . . . Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow. . . .
Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church.” Another point- the prophet will not always be popular with
the world or the worldly. This isn’t new at all. Nobody likes to be called out
for his or her misdeeds. When a prophet of God points out the sins of the
world, people will either change their ways, or ignore the prophet altogether.
The final point, we will be blessed if we follow the prophet, and we will
suffer if we don’t. In the early days of the church, some members in high
callings tried to figure out how they could get rid of the Prophet Joseph
Smith’s leadership. Somebody made the mistake of inviting Brigham Young to one
such gathering, and when he figured out the purpose of the meeting, he stood up
and rebuked the brethren, saying, ‘You cannot destroy the appointment of a
prophet of God, but you can cut the thread that binds you to the prophet of God
and sink yourselves to hell.”
I’m now going to go
back to where I started this talk; Missionary work. The Lord told Joseph Smith
to send missionaries to “proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to
city… bear testimony in every place, unto every people.” Missionaries seek to
teach and baptize because the savior taught that “Except a man be born of water
and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” We know from this
that baptism is absolutely necessary to return and live with our heavenly
father again. That is why missionary work is so important, because we know that
the Lord wants all of his children to return to him. We know that the Lord said
to Moses “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the
immortality and eternal life of man.” Our primary desire as a church is that as
many of the children of men that can, will be saved and exalted.
A phrase that is often
heard in the church, is “every member a missionary.” Not only full-time
missionaries can share the gospel. Being a missionary doesn’t necessarily mean
waking up at 6:30 every morning, riding a bike around, and passing out Book of
Mormons to anybody who will take one. Members can be missionaries just by the
way they live their lives and the examples that they are to the people around
them. The most convincing testimony is the good and happy life of someone who
lives according to the Lord’s teachings, but its also good to verbally share
your experiences with those around you and invite them to come unto Christ.
I definitely realize
that sharing the gospel isn’t always easy. For pretty much my entire life, I
would never go out of my way to share the gospel. I would be completely fine if
somebody wanted to ask me a question about the church, but I would rarely be
the one to start the conversation. Hopefully that changes pretty quickly. This
past year, when people asked me what my future plans were, and what college I
would be attending, I would tell them that I was going to leave home and serve
a two-year mission for my church. Explaining to them what it meant to me and why
I was doing it made it easier for me to share the gospel with those around me.
a mission isn’t easy. No matter how ready you are, it still has its challenges.
Adjusting to the missionary lifestyle will probably be fairly challenging for
me in these coming weeks. Those close to me know that I love to be connected to
my friends, and I am rarely caught without my phone. When I was explaining my
plans for after high school, one of my school teachers asked how often I would
get to use my phone while I was away. When I told her that I wouldn’t be able
to, she asked me how I would be able to function. I think she was joking, but
I’m not one hundred percent sure. I’m leaving behind a lot of people and things
that are important to me to serve in Guatemala, but I know that it will be
completely worth it. I know that serving a mission is the right choice for me,
and that I will be able to bless the lives of the people I encounter, as they
in turn bless my life. I am excited to serve the people of Guatemala, and I’m
looking forward to bringing them unto Christ. I know that if we follow the
teachings of the prophets, our lives will be blessed. I know that this church
is true. There’s absolutely no way I’d do this if it weren’t. I know that
Christ is our savior, and that through Him we can return and live with our
Heavenly Father again. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Getting ready to go away for two years requires some serious shopping and food consuming....so, shopping at Costco, Walmart, and clothing stores for those last minute essentials was in order.....the clock is ticking!
No, Fin, you can't take a 10 lb. can of pineapple, but I'm sure you have will have some deliciously fresh in Guatemala!
I didn't want to admit that we actually had to go here, but we did....
And, of course, looking for last minute ties and tie bars....
The last Sunday before his farewell, he wore a bow tie for the last time....
The food list is endless, and I don't think we will be able to hit all of the spots or meals, but we will do our best.....
Last Sunday dinner request....duck confit with a sour cherry reduction, roasted potatoes, and veggies...
And yes, he helped prepare it....hoping that some of those skills will transfer to the mission.....
We hit Richie's Diner for root beer floats...
And the Taco Shop for those rice, beans, and carne asada burritos....(and his sister's chicken taquitos)
We even bought a pumpkin pie from Costco (in August - that's a shame) since he won't be here for Thanksgiving!
And the last meal request was sushi.....
He will be dressed and go off well fed....what more could he want?!