Elder Mason Arnold
Currently serving a mission in Denmark.
Part of his email home sent July 4, 2017:
I think from now on, I will answer a question for the bulk of my weekly email. Because this week I got a letter from my Ma from trek, she asked me to share my trek experience. I am going to do that. I also feel like I want to talk about testimonies and personal conversion.
Many of you know this story, but many of you don’t.
It begins back in February/March of 2016. That is when I told my mom that I wasn’t going on a mission. I would have told my dad, but I was too afraid. I told them that I had other plans and that I didn’t think that it was for me.
Then May rolls around. I was sitting in my priest class, one of the members of the stake presidency was in there with us, President Edgington. He told us that we had trek the last week of June that year. He asked how many of us were going. A couple of the boys raised their hands and said they were going, I was not one of them. I still remember him grabbing my shoulder and saying, “Mason is going, I know his dad!” I tried to play it off.
A couple weeks before trek roll around. My parents ask me if I am going. I tell them that I have a full time job and that I can’t miss work and I make as many excuses as I can to not go. Then it turns out that the week before trek some stuff goes wrong at work, and I end up quitting. I didn’t even remember that trek was that next week.
So I had no excuses to not go. I ended up going and having such an awesome time!!! It was one of the funnest weeks I have ever had.
On the last day of the trek we got letters from our parents and some personal time to go and read them and read the scriptures. To be honest I don’t really remember what my parents said other than they loved me. I was then sitting there with my journal open trying to think of what to write. What happened next is what I call my “Freight Train Moment”
That is the best way I can describe that feeling. I have never been hit that strong by the spirit. I was told so plainly and so powerfully that I needed to go on a mission and that I needed to prepare now. I could almost hear the words out loud. It was the only thing I could think about for the rest of that day.
It is amazing to me that the one year anniversary of that event was a couple of days ago. Looking back on that event I ask myself, “How did I let myself fall away from the church and my Savior?”
There wasn’t a big event that caused me to fall away. It was me neglecting to do the small things. I stopped reading the scriptures every day, and eventually not at all. Same thing with prayer, I had stopped praying. IF YOU ARE NOT STRENGTHENING YOUR TESTIMONY EVERY SINGLE DAY, IT IS BECOMING WEAKER! That is how it is.
There is an amazing talk by President Uchtdorf titled Come, Join with us. It is really good! It says,
To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.
Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.
Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.7
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.8 We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is dangerous for us to let our doubts creep in. And never let a brand new idea tear down years of foundation you have built in the gospel!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!