Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do We Really Know What We Have?

Do We Really Know What We Have?
As written by Scott Anderson in his journal.

We had an unexpected moment in the mission field. We
knocked on a door and a lady said something to us we had
never heard, "Come in." Now remember, I was a German
missionary. This had almost never happened to us; not being
invited in.

My companion said, "Do you know who we are?" "You want
to talk about religion, don't you?" she said. "Yes, we do"
explained my companion.

"Oh, come in. I've been watching you walk around the
neighborhood. I'm so excited to have you here. Please come
into my study."

We went in and seated ourselves and she sat down behind the

She looked at us with a smile, then pointed to three PhD's
hanging over her head. One in Theology, the study of
religion, one in Philosophy, the study of ideas, and one in
European History specializing in Christianity.

She then kind of rubbed her hands together and said, "Do
you see this row of books here?" We looked at a well
arranged row of books. She then said, "I wrote them all. I'm
the Theology professor at the University of Munich. I've
been doing this for 41 years. I love to talk about religion.
What would you like to discuss?"

My inspired companion said we'd like to talk about the Book
of Mormon. She said, "I don't know anything about the Book
of Mormon." He said, "I know."

Twenty minutes later we walked out of the room. We had
handed her a Book of Mormon and this trade off that we had
been on was over.

I didn't see this lady again for another eight and a half
weeks. It was in a small room filled with people (when I saw
her again), as she was standing in the front dressed in

This Theology professor at the University of Munich was
well known throughout Southern Germany. She stood up in
front of this small congregation of people and said, "Before
I'm baptized I'd like to tell you my feelings. In Amos
chapter 8:11 it says there will be a famine of the work of
God. I've been in that famine for 76 years. Why do you think
I have three PhD's? I've been hungering for truth and have
been unable to find it.

Then eight and one-half weeks ago, two boys walked into my
home. I want you to know these boys are very nice and
wonderful young men, but they didn't convert me. They
couldn't; they don't know enough." And then she smiled and
said, "but since the day they walked in my door I have read
the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl
of Great Price, all of Talmage's great writings, Evidence and
Reconciliations by John A. Widtsoe and 22 other volumes of
church doctrine."

She then said something which I think is a challenge for
every one of us here. She said, "I don't think you members
know what you have." Then in her quiet, powerful way, she
said, "After those years of
studying philosophy, I picked up the D&C and read a few
little verses that answered some of the greatest questions
of Aristotle and Socrates! When I read those verses, I wept
for four hours." Then she said again, "I don't think you
members know what you have.

Don't you understand the world is in a famine?
Don't you know we are starving for what you have?
I am like a starving person being led to a feast.
And over these eight and one-half weeks I have been able to
feast in a way I have never known possible."

Her powerful message and her challenging question was then
ended with her favorite scripture, "For you don't see the
truth can make you free." She said, "these missionaries
don't just carry membership in the church in their hands,
they carry within their hand the power to make the atonement
of Jesus Christ full force in my life. Today I'm going into
the water and I'm going to make a covenant with Christ for
the first time with proper authority. I've wanted to do this
all my life."

None of us will forget the day that she was baptized. When
she got finished being baptized, she got back out and before
she received the Holy Ghost, she stood and said, "Now I
would like to talk about the Holy Ghost for awhile." She
then gave us a wonderful talk about the gift of the Holy

(later in Elder Anderson's journal)

Two young missionaries, both relatively new, (one had been
out about five months, the other three weeks) accidentally
knocked on the door of the seminary in Reagansburg.
125 wonderful men were studying to become priests inside.
They didn't realize this was the door they had knocked on
because it looked like any other door.

They were invited in. In somewhat of a panic, the man said,
"I am sorry we just don't have time right now." The two
missionaries were relieved, but then he said, "Would you
come back next Tuesday and spend two hours addressing all
125 of us and answer questions about your church?" They
agreed that they would, and ran down the road screaming.

They made a phone call to the mission president and cried
for help. The mission president called us and said, "Do you
think that dear lady that you have just brought in to the
church would like to come help these two missionaries with
this assignment?" I called her to explain what was to
happen, and she said, "more than I would like to eat, more
than I would like to sleep, more than..." I said, "Fine, you
don't have to explain."

We drove her to the seminary and as we went in, she grabbed
the two missionaries that had originally been invited, put
her arms around them and said, "you are wonderful, young
men. Would each of you spend about two minutes bearing your
testimony and then sit down and be quiet please?"

They were grateful for their assignment. They bore their
testimony and then seated themselves. Then she got up and
said, "For the next 30 minutes I would like to talk to you
about historical apostasy." She knew every date and fact.
She had a PhD in this. She talked about everything that had
been taken away from the great teachings the Savior had
given, mostly organizational, in the first part of her talk.

Then the next 45 minutes was doctrinal.

She gave every point of doctrinal changes, when it happened
and what had changed. By the time she was done, she looked
at them and said, "In 1820 a boy walked into a grove of
trees. He had been in a famine just like I have been. He
knelt to pray, because he was hungry just like I have been.
He saw God the Father and His Son. I know that is hard for
you to believe that they could be two separate beings, but I
know they are."

She shared scriptures that showed that they were and then
said, "I would like to talk about historical restoration of
truth." She then, point by point, date by date, from the
Doctrine and Covenants put back the organizational
structure of Christ's church.

The last 20 minutes of her talk were absolutely brilliant.
She doctrinally put the truth back in place, point by point,
principle by principle. When she finished this profound talk,
she said, "I have been in a famine as talked about in Amos.
You know that because last year I was here teaching you."

For the first time, we realized that she was their Theology
professor. She continued by saying, "Last year when I was
teaching you, I told you that I was still in a famine. I
have been led to a feast. I invite you to come." She
finished with her testimony and sat down. What happened next
was hard for me to understand. These 125 sincere, wonderful
men stood and for the next 7 minutes, gave a standing ovation.

By the time four minutes had gone by I was crying. I
remember standing and looking into their eyes and seeing the
tears in their eyes too. I wondered why they were applauding
after the message she had given.

I asked many of them later. They said, "to hear someone so
unashamed of the truth, to hear someone teaching with such
power, to hear someone who finally has conviction.

"The truth is what can set us free...
Do we really know what we have?

1 comment:

i said...

amazing story!!! thanks for the reminder.