Nathan Coleman

Nathan Coleman
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Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015

This week has been a good one:

The reason why this email is coming a little late is because we were at a ward party for Buddha's birthday, which means everyone gets off work and stuff. We went up close to the Han River and just played games and ate lots of food. Fortunately, we were able to bring 2 investigators with us, who seemed to really enjoy it (especially the food) and we also got to hang out with a lot of the members. Also, we had a lot of success this week finding people on the street and elsewhere so that was just a party. 

Today since my last thought was so long, I don't have any big thoughts to share with all of you, but I will share a quick thought on obedience. King Benjamin, a prophet-king in the Book of Mormon, taught that obedience should never be considered as a burden. Instead, we should constantly ponder on the blessing of obedience: 

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Mosiah 2:41)

The Prophet Alma makes a similar point as he is talking to his son. 

Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. (Alma 41:10)

Keeping the commandments of God is not about punishment, taking away our choices, or even receiving blessings. God's commandments exist so that we can benefit from them. As we keep them we dwell in a state of happiness because we can avoid guilt, shame, and mistakes that lead to spiritual and physical damage. As we ponder on the fact that commandments are from an omniscient, all powerful, and all loving father in heaven, perhaps we can be better persuaded to keep the commandments of God.

Love you all,
Elder Coleman

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 17, 2015

To my friends and family,

Hello everyone! This week was a great one, mostly because I got to see all of my friends in the Seoul mission (shout out to Elders Seely, Dye, and Skinner) and also because we found a pretty awesome guy who wants us to teach him and his wife.

So today I want to make up to all of you for missing my last letter by writing a slightly longer one. So two weeks ago I talked about the idea that there are two different causes for the feelings of hopelessness and being lost in our lives. Two weeks ago, I talked about how one of the reasons for these feelings is that they are an inevitable result of living. Today I want to talk about the other reason for these feelings: the bondage of sin.

I feel like the concept of repentance is often misconstrued as something that only people who are very evil have to do. Also I feel like repentance is often thought of as a painful process and that it can be avoided by just ignoring the problem. First of all, in the words of the prophet Alma, repentance should not be a bitter experience or even always a difficult one. He declares,

Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. (Alma 29:2)

According to Alma, if we just repented and came unto God, there would be no more sorrow on all of the face of the earth. He also tells of the joys of repentance when he shares his own conversion story several chapters later.

Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. (Alma 36:21)

Often times we feel the burden of sin through feelings of guilt, shame, sadness and grief. By breaking God's laws, we are inevitably subject to the pain that comes from disobedience and also to the natural effects of breaking that law. For example, if we steal, we are subject to the natural consequences of the law such as imprisonment, but even if we avoid that law, we are subject to feelings of guilt and shame. But, as we repent, we are promised that we will feel joy that is more exquisite than our pain.

Repentance has several steps: by following them, we can experience lasting peace and forgiveness.
  1. Recognizing something is wrong- no matter how small or large a problem is, the first step is to realize it is breaking a law of God and is harmful. Whether it be lying or murder, recognition is the first step.
  2. Stop- stop the behavior: continuing it means that there is no true sorrow for committing the sin. We may make mistakes and sin again, but we must always try to stop the behavior.
  3. Confess- Confess to God through prayer that you have made a mistake. Ask him for the strength to do better and act on that prayer. Also confess to the people you may have harmed while making those mistakes.
  4. Make restitution- make it up to the people you hurt. Some wounds are never really able to be healed, but do your best to try to show them that you care and want to be better.
  5. Acknowledge the Savior and keep the commandments- realize that forgiveness comes because of the Savior’s sacrifice and that through Him we can be clean from our mistakes.
In summary, we can have peace and joy in this life by patiently enduring the troubles and trials that will come to us all through relying on the Savior, by repenting of the mistakes that we have made, and by relying on His power to forgive and to heal. I know that all of this is true. It has blessed me more than anything else in my life and it can bless all of those who sincerely apply the principles of repentance.

I love you all,
Elder Coleman

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you are all doing well!

This week not a lot of super interesting things happened but I don't think I've ever mentioned this part of Korean culture: We don't believe in driers. It is pretty unfortunate because we have to iron everything and all of the lint is all over the place, but at the same time we get to make our clothes look really nice. I also got a couple of pictures taken of me because I am white so that was super fun. 

Anyway because last week's message was so long, I will keep this one short. Recently I have been trying to give compliments more often. The Savior tells us in John 13:34-35 that we must love each other and by this people may know that we are from God. So recently, I have been trying to give someone a compliment each day. I try to do more than just "I like your hat" or "nice tie" but instead focus on an attribute that they have that reminds me of Christ. As I complement people in this way, I’ve come to find that I have a lot more charity and joy in my life. I would encourage all of you to compliment more and show more love for people around you, especially when they are hard to deal with or you are struggling. 

I love you all,
Elder Coleman