Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Because He Lives

"Because of Him
Colors are full and vibrant
The sky lit by the stars
Winter turns to spring
He was born a babe
He was killed a man
And He is risen
Because He lives
I can try again
And again
and again
Because He lives
Story doesn't have to end.

Because He lives
Death has no sting
The grave no victory
We are born
We will die
But we will live again
Because He lives."

-Elder Jeremy Ellsworth 

Jesus Christ lived. He walked the Holy Land, working miracles and teaching truth. Then He was crucified.. But His death was not the end. Because of His Resurrection, we will live again. Because of His sacrifice, we can rise above sin to experience true joy. Because He lives, we can find His help and healing every day of our lives. ..So come, and see for yourself. That He lives. He lives who once was dead.

Have the greatest Easter ever, and remember why things are the way they are.

All the love,

Elder DeMille!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


What's up!

A friend recently taught me that, "Diligent, prayerful study of the Book of Mormon each day really gives us power to know what is right and what is wrong, it teaches us to pray always that we enter not into temptation, and it outlines so beautifully the great plan of happiness and what our role is as sons of God in bringing to pass much righteousness among His lost children.”

This week I've been thinking so much about the Book of Mormon, and it's importance. ..But more than that.. how it really came to be. I found myself reading the History this morning, and thought I would share it with you. It goes like this, in the words of Joseph Smith:

8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

 9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.

 10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

 11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

 12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

 13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

 14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

 15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

 16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

 17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

 18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?

The Lord uses the weak things of the world that they "shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones. (D&C 1:19)" As we realize that there are so many others out there with weaknesses and senses of inadequacy-they without the gospel light-we then understand how much we really have.  Our own weaknesses and inadequacies become strengths as we labour diligently to bring souls unto Christ.

So, recognize that you're not alone. ..Ever. And that if you but ask, to know the whole truth.. You'll know. 
..Life is really up to you, you know.

I know that He lives and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.
In the sacred name of my brother, Jesus Christ, Amen.

All the love,

Elder DeMille

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Are You Sleeping Through Your Consecration?

I read once, "You don't just wake up great one day. That's not the way it works. What you get out of life is directly related to what you put into it. So if you think you can cut corners, there will be benches for you to ride and records for you to miss. But if you believe that excellence is something earned.. we've got work to do.”

..Little did I realize that the back of this Oberto Beef Jerky bag actually had a pretty good point. Have I been working as hard as I can? Or have I been cutting corners, riding benches, and sleeping through my consecration?

In Stake Conference this past Saturday evening, our Stake President asked us a question that made me think. He said, addressing the brethren, "Who is the happiest missionary?" After a few murmurs, some thoughtful glances towards the ceiling and floor, and a couple confident dispositions, the Stake President then continued, "The one who keeps rules -- and commandments." ..I can only speak for myself, but I was definitely expecting something wayy more intense - like a new secret to taking over the world with smiles.. or how confidence actually increases your height.. Something like that. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is actually one that people (especially me) tend to look over more often than not.
This is, obedience.

The very first page of Preach my Gospel says, " You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in their life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world filled with changing values. They want "Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (D&C 59:23) , but they are "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it"(D&C 123:12).”

We've been called of God to deliver the message that will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fill their deepest desires, but.. How can we do that if we don't make it out of our house? What if we miss that person who needs this so bad because we were grabbing an extra bite to eat? What if we don't care to study as hard as we should? How can we teach what we don't know? ..We've got to be obedient. For our benefit as well as for others.

Bottom line, I believe missions are hard because it pits you against yourself. Over the course of time you are forced to choose whom you will follow - The spirit, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, or the natural man inside of you. To choose between wants and needs, should’s and shouldn'ts, good and great, and better and best can not only be tricky, but.. ..well, really really difficult!

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by my mission President. Interviews are a time for us to, as missionaries, be able to talk with our President, address his concerns as well as our own, and leave feeling spiritually enlightened, loved, and ready to make the necessary changes in our missionary lifestyle in order to become a "Preach My Gospel Missionary". The best of the best. 

..but. I didn't quite experience the full range of 'spiritual enlightenment', love,and 'ready to improve' feelings. To be honest, I felt like I was trying to justify and explain myself the whole time. What I had not understood at that time- until I left, feeling embarrassed and ashamed, was that the happiest missionary is truly one who "keeps rules-- and commandments." 

The purpose of this mass email today is to share with you what you are expected to be -- as a missionary, so that.. well.. haha.. you can avoid this kind of humbling experience and progress much faster with the end in mind. I've done a lot of studying and believe this is the best help I could find at the moment. So, let us all become Preach My Gospel missionaries, through the teachings of David A. Bednar. 

Thank you all for being so supportive, and so loving! 

"Becoming a Preach my Gospel Missionary"

Love you all,

Elder DeMille!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Back in the Game


This week was amazing. Spirits lifted, and ready for more, we're back in the game. I spent a lot more time this morning talking to others that I needed to get back to, but I love all of you tons! (Even if I didn't get a chance to get back to you yet!) -- I had an interesting experience this week, of being.. well, haha really stressed out. I had to write this eight to ten minute talk on the happiness of the deceased (Plan of Salvation topic) to give in Sacrament and was so convinced it would just be impossible. ..Come on, how do you even give a talk like that in English?? But -- everything worked out so well, and having the opportunity to show myself that I can do things that seem impossible with the help and love from those around me and above me was so wonderful to experience. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and remember that your trials are a blessing!! 

Have the greatest week!

All the love,
Elder DeMille

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Go It Not Alone

What's up ladies and gentlemen??! 

I've gotta say, these week was pretty different. Not in the fact that we really did anything different, (other than go to the bathhouse for P-day, which was ultra nice)- but more that a lot went on around me, it was pretty cool.

..That's probably really confusing. ..Haha, let's just say I figured a few things out this week, and want to share a few special experiences that you may not usually hear from missionaries (especially me). These relate to trials missionaries often have, and some that I had a while ago, that I was able to overcome by understanding who really is most important among this whole wild ride. 

This comes from a letter written in 1994 to a certain "Elder Clarke", by a man named (at the time) Elder Danny Q. Humphrey. He served in Italy, and his words have been an inspiration to me since the time I served with Elder Connor ("Fade Away") Ellsworth. 

"One of the most challenging elements of the entire mission experience is how to judge whether you are a good missionary or not. Is it baptisms? Is it the number of lessons you teach? There are missions in the world where a missionary after 2 years experiences no baptisms. There are also missionaries who find a family of 12 on their doorstep asking to be baptized (think South America).

The dilemma of new missionaries is to learn some way of gauging effectiveness and success. It is natural to use the number of baptisms as the gauge of success. While number of baptisms is important, there is a far better more valuable gauge: Obedience. I knew of missionaries in my mission who did not live mission rules, were not as committed as I think the lord desired, yet they baptized.

I really struggled with that because when I left the MTC it was my firm understanding that only obedient missionaries baptize. When I saw disobedient missionaries having baptisms, I began to con myself into thinking that getting up on time; reading scriptures, and other seemingly trite "white bible rules" didn't necessarily correlate with baptisms. I began to perceive that it would be easier to relax and baptize then to work so darn hard, be so disciplined, and not baptize.
Every missionary goes through a drought period in their mission life. A period of time where they are fighting homesickness, praying harder than they ever have, are living more righteously than they ever have in their lives up to this point in time, and no one seems interested in hearing the gospel. It is at this time that the Lord tests you as a missionary. The reason, I have always believed, is to see if you can be trusted. Father in Heaven has an incredible work to do to prepare the earth for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The mission field has a dual purpose to bring souls unto Christ, and to sift us as missionaries into the parts we will play throughout our lifetime in building the Lord's kingdom - to prepare us for "leading" OR prepare us for "following". Both are important, but what are followers without leaders? The missionaries who recognize the drought and remain strong to the higher law of missionary work (absolute obedience) end up converting the most critical investigator of them all... themselves. You will be your greatest conversion in the mission field. In D&C 18:15-16 it says: And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
I contend that the "one soul" is you. Imagine the insanity of sending 19 [now 18] to 21 year old young people all over the world to be ambassadors of something as critical as the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Frankly, it sounds crazy. But factor in a couple of things. Do most missionaries enter into the mission field converted? I can only speak for me. I wasn't. I had good feelings about the church, seminary, Joseph Smith, the Gospel, etc, but converted? Not to the degree the Lord desires. That is the beauty of the mission experience, the Lord entrusts us to dispense his critically important message, knowing full well that in the process of delivering that message an unusual process occurs where the teacher of the message and the hearer of the message are both becoming converted AT THE SAME TIME. Not every hearer will be baptized, even though they feel the spirit, not every teacher will become converted. But here is what I do know, if you are absolutely obedient to the mission rules, YOU will become converted, and at that point you have accomplished what should be the greatest result of your missionary service. At the same time you have the opportunity to bring others along the conversion path smack in the middle of your own conversion. That is why mission success CAN ONLY HAVE ONCE GAUGE, YOUR PERSONAL CONVERSION. This only comes from one attitude, that of absolute obedience. Baptisms happen or don't happen. Teaching opportunities can happen or don't happen. The blessings of the converted missionary last far beyond the mission experience. Learn this critical principle, all you need to do for 2 years is make sure that nothing but the truth comes out of your mouth to every single person you can possibly speak to. Leave the conversion part to the spirit, but your own conversion comes from that type of focus. Baptisms or not."
I think it takes a long time to realize that we  as missionaries are our most important investigator. That we, too, still need to be converted! A little while back, I was going through a pretty tough time, and wrote this poem to kind of express what I was feeling. To give a bit of introduction, I've had insomnia and night-terrors basically my whole life, and ..to be honest, am most of the time very afraid to go to sleep. Throughout my mission thus far, I rarely experience these symptoms, but during a time that they came back, I thought I couldn't carry on. And so, this was a product of that trial. My "drought" period as a missionary, where I simply thought I couldn't make it.

"Come on! Let's go! Go get 'em!"
They all shout from the side -
But I don't think they understand,
I've lost both heart and mind.

It's harder now, than ever was
This talked-up, 'glorious' thing.
I sit here humming soul-less bars,
While melodies they sing. 

It's not that I've just given up,
I'm not that kind of guy,
Yet there is but one sound I hear,
The endless whisper   , "Why?"

Why do I feel inadequate? 
Alone and tossed aside?
Somehow I always fall back down,
No matter what I try.

I've gotten past the 'fresh new start',
Homesickness there resides-
It's not about me anyway,
They've stripped me well of pride.

Why then, is there much more to gain?
I cannot comprehend.
What am I supposed to do but
Try and try again?

I cannot win, it's not my choice - 
I'm human just like you.
I can't be any more than this,
And sadly - this is True.

Never in my whole lifetime, 
Have I felt this torn apart.
I've fallen so far back behind,
I know not where to start.

"Why are you here? Why you? Why now?
Why don't you go back home?
Why can't you see that you could never
Make it on your own?"

"Why do you try? What's there to prove?
Why can't you see it straight?
Why can't you seem to understand
it's you - yourself - you hate?"


But that's not true. It never was.
Not even from the start.
I've always had the strength
to conquer Satan's false remarks.

Out of those nights that covered me,
So black from pole to pole
I thanked my God for loving me
And rescuing my soul. 

But now things feel so different,
Like someone's left my side,
My thoughts now painted poisonous,
To heart, might, mind and rhymes. 

"Why can't you consecrate yourself?
And leave them all behind?
Why can't you close your eyes and sleep?
What's troubling your mind?"

Alas, another endless night
So caught up in my head.
I can't escape this misery,
I'll sleep when I am dead.

I've missed no chance to lie awake,
For more than 19 years
And though I plead but innocence,
It's whispering I hear.

I would that one might save my life,
To lift me from this grave
But there is no way out - it seems-
I am, to my mind, a slave.

The broken lights are beckoning, 
Those ashes in the sky,
I lay so still I cannot move-
The endless whisper,   "Why?"

I fear what others cannot see
It's in that realm I fight,
Reaching to grasp at anything
But shadows in the night.

They pull me in, they strip me down,
Until my soul is bare.
My body a contortionist,
My lungs devoid of air.

Alone there is no hope for me,
There's nothing I can do.
For every time that I cry out,
I hear them whisper too.

I know the answers in my head,
That I don't have to fear.
But having knowledge doesn't mean
My mind is very clear.

I wish that one could understand
While salty tears I cry,
Why is it only me they ask?
That endless whisper,  "Why?"

Of this I know no remedy,
A broken mind to mend,
As I lie drowning in cold sweat-
I know I've reached the end. 

My body battered, soul abused
at last I've found the light. 
It lies within the prayers I say
To make it through each night. 

So caught up in my wounds that I 
Forgot I am alive,
I pray His light to pierce the gloom
That I may see aright.

We are all blind until we see 
That in the human plan,
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.

Why build these worries multuous
If man unshackled grows?
In vain we chain ourselves unless
We go it not alone."

Don't go this alone. Remember who you are, and return with honor.

All the love,

Elder True DeMille!