Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, June 22, 2015

How the Heck am I Supposed to Come Up with a Clever Subject Line At a Time Like This?

First and foremost, everyone, I need to correct what I said last week about Matthew being the apostle that followed Judas. That's super untrue and I had a brain fart last week and I hope nobody used that as a spiritual thought for FHE or anything like that 'cause it was all false doctrine. It was actually Matthias. Whoops. Now I sound as dumb as Tim.

Think what you will about me and my stupid brain. I still got swag.

Anyway, I suppose this is it, folks. As of this Thursday I will no longer be a set apart missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In essence, I'm dying.

Just like Moroni when he was writing up his final thoughts before HE died! And I think that's just fitting, because some of the stuff that he wrote about that day is the stuff that I myself would like to write about this day. You see, our mission has been focusing a lot recently on obtaining a change of heart. The main focal point of this change is working on developing Christlike attributes, or traits that make up the character of Christ. As I've flipped through the pages of Preach My Gospel I've really come to recognize what those things are that will drive me to be more like Jesus, and the more I study His life and attributes, the more I believe that the ultimate common denominator of all the Christlike attributes is charity.

I find it interesting that Moroni, being a super old fart with a lot of different experiences under his belt, decided to wrap up his dying testimony with thoughts on charity. You'd figure there would be lots of other stuff he could talk about, right? He could have talked for days about his war stories, or what it was like to be the last Nephite alive, or even how the Atonement changed his life. But nah. To Moroni, all of those concepts bowed to the idea of charity. BUT WHY?

Just listen to him talk about it: "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." How dope. RIGHT? Since this mountain of a man thought charity so important as his life came to a close, I figured it would just make sense for me to take on the same idea. So I decided to study the snot out of it.

I learned that charity is the pure love of Christ. I learned that Charity is what we feel for that hobo on the side of the road who we recognize as a child of God, so we're prompted to go buy him a burger. Charity is what causes us to forgive our little brother for breaking our favorite toy. Charity is what softens our heart when we feel like the whole world is against us. Charity makes the world go round.

Now let's talk about brownies for a sec.

Brownies are like the chillest thing ever, right? I love brownies. If I wanna make a yummy batch of brownies, ideally I would start with a recipe for yummy brownies. You can't make yummy brownies without first knowing what you need to put in the bowl. So you follow the recipe! And what happens if you don't? If I want to make brownies, but I forget to put in the cocoa, or the eggs, or the sugar, will I still have brownies? Heck no, I'll just have some nasty oily goop. Gross. But I follow the recipe, and within 45 minutes I have the yummiest brownies I ever done tasted.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a recipe for charity? I sure wish someone would line out for me all of the ingredients whose sum is charity! That would be so... WAIT.

Charity suffereth long. A person with charity is patient in enduring his trials, as well as the shortcomings of others.
Charity is kind. A person with charity always has a smile on his face, and doesn't use sarcasm or passive-aggression to try and prove a point.
Charity envieth not. A person with charity is happy to see others succeed.
Charity is not puffed up. A person with charity is meek and humble; not quick to point out his own personal accomplishments, but rather to uplift others.
Charity seeketh not her own. A person with charity looks first to serve others rather than himself.
Charity is not easily provoked. A person with charity has a long fuse. He doesn't get frustrated when things don't go as planned, or people don't act as expected or desired.
Charity thinketh no evil. A person with charity doesn't try to find loopholes or justify or make excuses. That's how Satan rolls.
Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity. A person with charity doesn't give in to temptation, no matter how appealing or harmless it may seem.
Charity rejoiceth in the truth. A person with charity desires to share the gospel with others, and finds joy in studying the scriptures and going to church.
Charity beareth all things. A person with charity sticks it out even when things get tough and sticky. He doesn't give up or give in to old habits.
Charity believeth all things. A person with charity is not naive or gullible, but rather faithful. He has a "prove it wrong" attitude rather than a "prove it right" one.
Charity hopeth all things. A person with charity has a positive attitude about life. He goes with the flow, but also doesn't just sit back and watch life pass by. He makes a move and takes a stand.
Charity endureth all things. A person with charity is steadfast and immovable. Blow after blow he comes out on top every time, stronger than before.

That's the recipe! This is how we gain charity! Breaking it down and getting good at all of these things is exactly how we fulfill the commandment to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Moroni had it down, and I want to get it down too. If I've learned anything on my mission, it's that charity truly is what separates the boys from the men. Not muscles. Not how many baptisms they got. Charity.

Though my full-time mission may be wrapping up, my life-long mission to become like my Savior has only just begun. Charity is where it starts, and perfection is where it ends. LET'S DO THIS.

I appreciate more than I can say all of the support I've gotten from my friends and family over the last two years. Thanks for all the letters and notes and boxes of candy and whatever else it may be. You guys pulled me through all this.

Once and for all: peace out, suckas.

Elder Slavens

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