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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Farewell Talk August 10th, 2014
(How the atonement has affected my life)

I figured when I came today, there would be less people than a normal week. I assumed everyone hates me, apparently. That’s not the case. I’ve thought about this talk a lot over the years. It’s hard to believe I’m the one talking, everyone says it comes “So fast” Nah! Even if it was fast, It wasn’t all Sunshine and Rainbows I'll tell you that. All through Junior High I’d think, “I can’t wait for that to be me up there” Sophomore year I began thinking, “That should be me” Junior year I’d laugh and say, “I guarantee that won’t be this guy” Even a good part of my Senior year I was dead set on not serving a mission. But...Turns out, here I am. That’s why, talking about The Atonement of Jesus Christ is very sacred to me. I always knew it was an important Gospel Principle, but I learned it’s much more than that. It’s a principle that changed my entire life. Fast.

I love talking about the atonement, but at the same time I don’t. It’s something so universal, yet so personal. When I hear other’s talk about it, a lot of walls go up, and I get very defensive. It’s a very delicate, powerful, subject, and a life changing event. I pray the spirit will fill our hearts, and we can all learn something new today. Until I get too far into the burning testimony I have the atonement. I want to tell you a story.

Every true mormon has a “When it hit me” experience. Some it’s sacred enough, that the don’t share it, other’s are on their missions before they have it. Few have always believed it and just know in their hearts. My, “hit me” moment came at a really weird time. It January of this year, again.. I was pretty set on not serving a mission. Anyway, I was pretty livid about something, I can’t remember if my parents made me furious, or what. But there is two things I do to calm down, either I clean a vehicle, or I drive around. I know it’s weird, but it works! It had been a pretty rough week, and our cars were pretty much spotless, so I drove. For those who don’t know. I drive a lot. No where to go, No one to see. I just drive. When I’m mad, sad, happy or just bored. So as I was driving, I came around this bend in Ferron I had came around 100 times before. It was on top of a hill, and about 200 feet in front of me the road T’d off, You could turn left, and go to the desert, or right, back to town, and back home. However, for the first time on top of this hill I thought about the T in life. I stopped and thought, “Where am I at in the T?” I drove down the hill, went on the left side of the road and stopped about 15 feet before the turn. I thought, when I graduate It’ll be time to turn, I’m already on the left side, am I going to turn left and head for the desert? The unknown, dusty, rocky, rough and unpredictable road, make no mistake, it’ll be fun, you’ll have stories to tell, and learn a lot. Or…. Am I going to turn right, pass the houses of people I know and trust, and go home. Obviously I had to turn right, but with tears in my eyes, symbolically I knew what way I wanted to go.

 That night I set up an appointment with Bishop Oakison to talk about everything. I wasn’t sure what I wanted anymore. So a couple days later, I met with him, and those few days Satan worked on me, and the spirit of that “Right turn” was gone and if my bishop uttered the words “You need to go on a mission” I was ready to pounce.
I was an 18 year old, know it all who likes to run his mouth. So naturally I was thinking what I was going to say to him. If I told my parents I’m not going on a mission, I guarantee I’ll have no problem telling him.

The lord, however had a different plan, because when I told my bishop I wasn’t planning on a mission, he nodded his head, and said something like this, “Daniel, you don’t need to go on a mission, I want you too, but I’m not going to tell you that it’s a must, however I’m going to tell you, that you need to go though the temple,you need to be worthy and get the melchizedek priesthood, and I don’t want to lose you” Now that’s not word for word, because once he said you don’t have to serve a mission, I didn’t just get knocked off my pedestal, my pedestal shattered. That along with a few particular people and conversations, my heart changed. the gospel, “hit me”. and I wasn’t looking back. However, I’ll never forget about the good people and friends that turned left. Because I truly believe, There are more bad people doing good things, than good people doing bad things.

I now wanted to serve a mission, but anyone who went to high school with me knew that I was not worthy, and my mouth was definitely not worthy. This is when the Atonement began to not only affect my life, it changed it. Now since then, I’ve listened very carefully to how other’s talk about the atoning sacrifice of our savior. A few weeks ago a lady in another ward gave a good talk about the atonement, but she said something that was 100% wrong. She said, the atonement is a long road, and I agreed with that, she continued and said it was a hard road, again I agreed.. but then she said it is a grueling road….. I have never disagreed more with someone in my entire life. Our beloved Savior bled from every pore, so that we can be be forgiven, so the road wasn’t “grueling” and we can change, the atonement isn’t an exhausting very tiring; arduously severe thing….. No….

The atonement isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the light leading us the way through the tunnel. The atonement is full of hope, love, and charity. It’s the exact opposite of grueling. It’s hard because changing our lives is hard, it’s long because we can’t do it over night. When I decided to stop swearing I didn’t punish myself for every time I cussed, instead I patted myself every time I didn’t. It took over three months to completely extract cuss words out of my vocabulary. I climbed on Christ’s shoulders, and said I’ll follow, but right now, you have to carry me. And he did. He will for every one of us. He loves us more than we can comprehend.

The atonement is so personal to each of us, I can’t tell you what you can, and can’t do. That’s between you and our savior. What I can tell you is that if you want to change, no matter how long along you reached the T in life, and went left you can always turn around, bow your head, and pray. D&C 10:5 was probably the most famous scripture for my graduating class. in 9th grade we hung on it with our lives, It reads…

Wherever the desert took you, there’s always a way home, it’ll take time, energy, and heart, but eventually that rocky dirt road will turn to asphalt, you’ll pass the T, drive past the houses of people you know and love, and you WILL return home to our beloved father in heaven, and our brother, healer and friend, Jesus Christ. It will be long, and hard, but never grueling. You will change, and lose some people you love, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that God loves each of us. He doesn’t care what you’ve done, No matter how bad. All he needs is our hearts. From there. You will never be the same.

Words can’t describe how excited and ready I am to go Peru, to completely love and serve them. I can’t describe how much I love this gospel. I can never thank the friends and teachers I’ve had in my life enough. I remember being 12 and Wade Allinson saying that if you live to be 80, you’ll be blessed every day for 58 years for serving a mission. At 13 Steve Lamouraux telling my class about his mission, and how much he loved it. Josh Jeweks being so nervous, and trying to teach a bunch a 14 year old idiots, but always ending the lesson with the spirit. Ethan Miglori for telling me that money will always be there to serve, put it in Gods hands and he’ll never fail. Bishop Jensen who taught me young what it takes to overcome sin, and addiction.The countless Spirit filled Seminary lessons, and the people in those classes. The Magnuson’s that prove every day you have time to serve others and the lord. No matter how busy you think you are.  And my family, I feel like I have a part of each of them in me. Ferron is my home. I’ve been blessed with the best people and friends in this world. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of you. So many have touched my heart in so many small ways, that you don’t even know.

In closing I want to bear my testimony.

Yee Yee!

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