This has been a most interesting week on so many fronts... It began with quite a bit of turmoil and negative disruption, however, after attending the temple on Monday I began to feel much better. That's what I love about the temple. The sweet spirit that abides there acts as a balm of Gilead in my life. I always leave the temple feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to recommit to living the Gospel as I understand it. It's like pushing a reset button. I sadly fall short in so many ways, but I am grateful for the opportunity to repent and to try harder, not to mention that this life is full of so many things that can destroy our peace and happiness. I remember sitting in the Denver, CO temple one evening with the temple president. He taught those in attendance that there would come a day when attending the temple once a week would not be enough to revive us from the spiritual drain the wickedness of the world would have upon us. It is drawing ever closer to that day. I am so grateful to have a house of the Lord so very close to us!
A landmark decision was reached by the US Supreme Court this week in regards to same-sex marriage. It is now recognized civilly, and legalized in all 50 states. I am going to take this time to freely express my opinion on this matter. I believe that this land mark decision has done nothing more than weaken a nation, however, I do agree that each member of this nation has rights, and that these rights should be protected under the Constitution. I agree with the stance of our church in this regard: the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches. I have great concern for the future generation of this country. I do not believe that I will live to see the full effects of this decision, but I know without a doubt that my children and grandchildren will recognize its full effects in ways that we may not even be able to imagine. I shudder to think of the confusion that our children and grandchildren will be raised in. I could go on and on, but I will simply end it there. I have copied below the LDS Church's official response to this decision:
RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT DECISION LEGALIZING SAME‐SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES June 29, 2015
Because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative actions in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same‐sex marriage relationships, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.
Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27‐28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation.
A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that 2 results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.
Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We invite all to review and understand the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.
The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.
As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.
THE COUNCIL OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER‐DAY SAINTS
Other happenings this week include the passing of two of my favorite apostles: President Boyd K. Packer, and Elder L. Tom Perry. They will surely be missed, but their testimonies will ever be remembered for they have shaped my life in countless ways. I have such respect and admiration for President Packer. He was an adamant defender of truth and doctrine. He worked tirelessly to preserve the truths that the Lord Himself has established - particularly in regards to the Family and traditional marriage. He courageously would take on the most sensitive topics to speak on in conferences. Many years ago he spoke on the three things that would most try the testimonies of members of the church in the last days: 1. Intellectuals 2. The Feminist Movement and 3. Gays and Lesbians. He was absolutely right! He was amazing because he could speak out against these movements yet was also able to express his love and concern for the individual. He always established and re-affirmed the Lord's will in these matters.
President Boyd K. Packer
Elder Perry was the apostle with the most engaging smile and enthusiastic voice. He was ever a builder of the Kingdom, a family man, a patriot, and a friend to all. I loved listening to his testimony. He always spoke with such conviction and love. In a tribute written for him, it stated that "wherever he went, Elder Perry left things stronger than they were before he came." He has left us all stronger because we knew him. These two great men will be missed! They will be very difficult to replace, but I know the Lord has prepared two more to replace and they will pick up right where they left off.
Dallin sounds great this week. He is really enjoying his time with Elder Silv... ! They are staying busy and working hard. I can't wait to hear how week two in Stockholm went with these two!
This Week's Letter From Home:
"We don't earn our way back to our Heavenly Father through our obedience... It is only through Jesus Christ and His atonement that we can return. We are obedient because of our love for our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Obedience brings forth blessings that our Heavenly Father wants us to have because He loves us." - Elder Brock Johnson, Sweden, Stockholm Mission.Dear Dallin,
It has been another busy week here in St. George - basketball and baseball galore. I attended a ton of your brothers' games this week. They won some and lost some, and I can honestly say that I witnessed some of the worst officiating on the planet. Between that and the heat come Saturday night I was ready to tell a few people off, I managed to keep it in the family though! Ha! Carter did get a win on the mound against the Highland American Legion team. Ty's baseball team went 2-2 and he had a fun week playing basketball. He is going to have a long summer in front of him. He is going to be working out with a trainer at house of hoops, and he and Carter are going to be doing a pitching program throughout the rest of the summer. This week we also head to Heber to play in the Firecracker tournament. We will be staying with Tyson Miller and his family at their cabin. Should be a fun weekend.We were able to spend some time with Jesus while he was here in St. George. It was really good to see him again - same old Jesus! We also talked with David Cushing... He is a pitcher on Jesus' team. He was on your Old Chicago Baseball team. Do you remember him at all? Carter also knew a few of the other players on their team. It brought back so many memories!
Today Ty and I went to Brock Johnson's missionary homecoming meeting. He said he saw you just before he left Sweden. He commented on what an awesome missionary you are. He did a great job speaking, and he was followed by a missionary who just returned from Norway. Two very difficult missions.I loved the letter that Rhiannon sent to you. I can really feel the strength of her testimony. It is unfortunate that her family is so against it. They believe her conversion is based on her attraction to the missionaries and not the doctrine. Her letter made it clear to me that she had caught the vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is so excited to tell everyone about it. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this time.
How are things with Elder Silvennoinen in Stockholm? Enjoy your time together because I am sure that it won't last long. Work hard and get a job done! Make these last few months of your mission the best ones yet!
I just fed dad the final harvest from the garden - corn, carrots, squash, and onions. He will now plow it under and we will have to decide if we are going to plant another one in August. Today I also received a calling in our ward. I do believe that is the longest I have ever gone without a calling. I will be teaching in Relief Society once a month. Pretty low profile which is great because I am really pinched for time right now. I love teaching and I love Relief Society so it should be a lot of fun, plus I need the blessings of serving in a calling.
No other news really to share. Everyone seems to be doing well. It is still really hot though. Elder Johnson said he has never sweat so much in his life as he has the three days he has been home. Thankfully you will be arriving in October and hopefully things will have cooled of a bit by then.As far as the book goes we are going to do our best to have it finished by the end of July. I have heard back from one publisher who said they would be interested in reading it when it is finished. I have reached out to nine other LDS publishers, and we will wait and see what they have to say. Dr. White visited with one of the leading therapists here in Utah who counsels wives of pornography addicts and invited him to add comments to the end of each chapter of the book. It would be great to get him on board. He is also interested in digitizing some of our findings to add to his data bank of research and making it available to as many people as possible. We will wait and see what happens.
That's all for now. Have a great week! Keep up the great work! Take care of yourself and stay safe!
All My Love,
Aldste Milne's Letter:
Well I made it safe and sound down to Stockholm. It has been interesting
transferring from a small town like Boden to the capital city Stockholm. People are everywhere! In Boden, our problem was there not being enough people to talk to on the streets. Now, its all about picking out the right person to talk to. I'm liking the big city life so far though. There is always something going on. And the weather has been gorgeous. Stockholm is a beautiful city when the sun shines.
Elder Silvennoinen is still a stud. We are on the same page when it comes to missionary work and he really knows his stuff. Fun fact about Elder Silv: his life-goal is to memorize the standard works word for word (excluding the old testament unless he memorizes everything else in under 20 years). Sounds crazy but if anyone will be able to do it, it's elder Silvennoinen. Right now he is just working on memorizing all the chapter headings in the Book of Mormon and he has all of them down from 1 nephi 1 mosiah 1. It is pretty impressive. He is a smart dude and we have already had some really good gospel conversations. He has got me into meditating 30 min a day before we study - haha I love it!
The work is done a lot differently here in Stockholm than other places I have been. We take the subway (tunnelbana) pretty much everywhere so we do a lot of contacting sitting on the subways. I'm trying to get used to it. It has always been kind of weird for me to contact on trains and stuff but I'm getting the hang of it. Me and Silv are co-district leaders here in Stockholm and we did our first district meeting together about "raising the bar" as missionaries and we talked about the importance of making a companionship vision at the start of the transfer. I am a big fan of making a vision. Both as a companionship and as an individual. As I thought about it, every time my companion and I made a vision and we were serious about it throughout the transfer, it finished with baptisms and other successes. I'm starting to learn the power that we all have in our thoughts and desires. I feel like I am the only one who can truly hold me back from accomplishing what I want. Especially when it is a righteous goal because then we get all kinds of help from the man upstairs.
Anyways it sounds like all is well in sunny st. george. That's cool that you were able to attend Brock's homecoming on Sunday. He was a good missionary here. It's too bad that we never served close to each other. We always seemed to be on opposite ends of the country haha. And that is awesome that you got to see my man Jesus Arteaga and the boys at the baseball tourney. Haha and yes I remember my boy Cushing. I loved the picture of him and dad on the blog haha what a big dude! I'm glad that the cards finally came, the package hasn't arrived yet but I'll let you know when it does.
But yeah all is well. I have a feeling that these last 4 months are going to go too fast.
Dallin said he forgot to take pictures this week so he sent these instead:
This is our transportation everywhere... The Tunnelbana!
Stockholm is really a beautiful city!