Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Monday, September 28, 2015

... Chuseok

..Family, friends, acquaintances, people I've never met, as well as people I may never meet in my entire life..

I would like you to know, that this week, was possibly the best week of my entire mission. 

I honestly don't know where to start, but I literally took over 1100 pictures this week -- And, if I picture is worth a thousand words, I'd like you to enjoy a few million. 

The experience was unbelievable -- from simple basketball with the boys on Monday to Chuseok conference and meeting my family, the days never slowed down. We powered through the week, and I'm ready to power through another. Here we go!

I don't have much to say, I'd rather let the pictures do the talking, and for my mom to relay a few important things to you-- since there was A TON going on, and I'm not sure I've got all my facts straight. So. Bottom line, mom, I hope you throw up a TON of pictures (or Scott, if he's manning it today), and that you all enjoy. What a blessing -- to be able to reunite a family 4+ generations big.. after 45 years. 

..I love this experience.
Forever grateful,

All the love,

Elder DeMille!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Remember the Worth of One.

It's said that young men speak of the future because they have no past, and old men speak of the past because they have no future. ..Today, since I consider myself neither of the two (speakin' missionary time here, haha -- don't worry, I know I'm only 20), I want to talk to you about a little of both today.

For each of us, life is a journey. ..Am I right? It may not be the most extensive journey we'll ever be a part of -- but it's quite the journey nonetheless. Heavenly Father designed it for us out of love. Each of us has certain experiences and unique characteristics that give us great variety among each other -- But, our journey began in the same place. 

We were taught by Elohim, the Father of our Spirits. We loved him, and wanted to be like Him, and to be with Him forever. He told us plainly what it would take for us to be able to obtain that kind of joy.
First, we would have to receive a body. Some would get a Ferrari, others maybe a Geo Metro -- but they would all be of use to us, regardless. We needed a body that could run, jump, feel taste, sense and altogether help us really be alive. But, we would also be subject to illness, broken hearts as well as bones, the processes that would lead us to death, and all of the powerful cravings for physical satisfaction. Heavenly Father continued to explain that not only that, but a loss of our memory would also be required, so that we could "walk by faith, rather than by sight" and obey and follow our Heavenly Father's plan because of our faith in Him; not because of our knowledge or memory of Him. We would experience trials because of this, and most certainly be deceived to choose other paths and ofttimes lose our way. But, if we allowed them to, these trials would purify us instead of defeat us, which would be necessary in our learning to overcome the trials we would face from both life itself and the natural result of our breaking His commandments. The last requirement: We would not be able to do it alone.

You know from the scriptures there was a certain number of Heavenly Father's children who chose not to participate in this journey that was offered to us. These Spirits were afraid. They did not want to run any risk that they might not be able to make it back when all was said and done. They weren't confident. They didn't trust in themselves or in Heavenly Father's promises. 

..But every one of YOU was among the brave, the faithful, and the true in that ultimate conflict. You are remarkable -- each one of you, even among those who chose right in the contest in the Spirit world. You qualified to come into mortality and to make this journey at a time when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was on the Earth. Not only that, but among the billions and billions of Heavenly Father's children now living, you were privileged to find the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His true church. Isn't that amazing? Perhaps you've taken that for granted. ..Perhaps you let it drive and uplift you each and every day.
However, Satan and his legion of fallen angles wants more than anything, as you know, for you to be miserable. He wants to put out the light that you have inside of you. He knows you and your goodness. He knows your power to teach and influence -- as a parent, missionary, friend, or peer -- hundreds of Heavenly Father's children, which would mean thousands of His children in generations to come. He knows that if he can get you to wander away from the right path -- he won't just bring harm to you, but to many. We make choices every day that keep us walking toward or away from the light of the Gospel. ..Some of the most important choices are what we set our hearts upon. What are the desires of your heart? What are those treasures that you lay up in store?

There are so many things that we consider admirable -- for example, the approval of other people. All of us want, to some degree, that approval. We want the "you belong here, with us" stamp. We feel a need for friends. All of us are searching for some evidence that we are people of worth.
I remember my childhood in a very unique way. My parents divorced when I was only 4 -- but I didn't so much remember the fighting and yelling as I do the simple anticipation to get to see my dad every other weekend, and how much I loved spending time with my mother after those visits. It was so fun to be a part of two totally different worlds. I remember lots of extra birthday presents, and "Double Christmas"es, along with an endless array of friends and acquaintances across all walks of life. My father -- a unique, valiant, man of heart-- and my mother, the most selfless, hard working human being I'll ever know have influenced me greatly. I have always sought their approval. We moved a lot, growing up -- but I only remember the surplus of friends I was able to meet and become close with because of the multiple changes in schools. From Maeser Elementary, to Spring Creek up to the middle of fifth grade, and Twin Peaks Elementary to finish off 5th and 6th grade, I found some of my very best friends to this day. I was even privileged to be the President of my elementary school. ..My friends were important to me. However, I had to leave those friends again when we made the final move to where we live now, in Holladay, Utah. 

When I started school at Evergreen Jr. High, I was a lot less confident in my ability to make friends because.. well, there were so many more people to meet. It wasn't just one class anymore. With 8 classes spread out among 2 days, and not a single person I knew outside of my older sister, Nix, I was pretty lonely. 7th grade came and went, and I had 3 friends I could count on to make my life a little more fun. We would have sleepovers and play video games until 5am, eating pizza for breakfast and wrestling when we were bored. We watched movies and tried to invite girls over (sometimes being successful) and would always talk about how we'd be the "coolest kids in school" someday. That was what was so important to us. We looked up to and idolized those who walked with popularity and influence in the hallways of our childhood. Everyone knew who the "cool kids" were. We'd talk about them almost every day. When we got together we'd swap stories -- which cool kids were in who's class, where they sat in relation to us, and if we'd had any noteworthy or remarkable interactions with them that day. ..It was unreal. We were lucky to rub shoulders with these Jr. High giants, and it always boggled my mind to think about why it was that way in the first place.
I remember a particular day the following year, where, in a Pre-Algebra class taught by a "Mrs. Lambert", I found my new seat in class placed among three of those beforementioned "cool kids". Hanna Thatcher to my left, Brock Bettilyon behind me, and Derek Allred to my right. I told my friends the day after our seats had been changed-- we could all hardly believe it. And so went my 8th grade year. I kept to myself mostly, and thought every part of those kids sitting next to me was just.. beyond cool. From pen-spinning tricks to the "Tall-Tee"s they would drown themselves in, I wanted to be just like them. Not just to be cool, however, my object was to become that kind of powerful character. For instance, as I kept to myself in class, I got in a lot less trouble and got a lot better grades that those that weren't quite as focused. That being said, they noticed and would ask for help on assignments, quizzes, and tests. The fact that I probably would have done, and basically did, everything that they asked completely amazed me. ..In only 8th grade. Isn't that wild? All I wanted to do was to obtain some kind of recognition - some form of acceptance that they, who, for whatever reason I entirely respected and looked up to, respected me as well.  .. That kind of influence on a person at that age blew my mind. I wanted to nothing more than to become such an influence -- in the best way possible. 

Then, one day, though I was somewhat clumsy, still a little chubby, and slightly friendless, Hanna Thatcher reached out to me one day while talking among her peers in class. At my Jr. High School everyone met after school on Fridays, just outside the side doors to discuss where they would go and what they would do during the weekend. ..As they talked in the middle of class that Friday, I couldn't help but want to be a part of it SO badly. I listened, feeling a little lift out, once again, not really really looking forward to the chores I would have to do when I got home that day. Weekends were harder for me, growing up. They were the only times I could see my dad as a kid, and as I made the final move to Holladay, I distinctly remember coming home on multiple occasions in tears as I flopped onto the couch, discouraged and distraught at my lack of friends and enjoyment of school-- absolutely not looking forward to another weekend alone. ..I don't know quite why, but friends were always such a big part of my universe. My dad would always counsel me growing up that "you can never have too many friends" -- and so I suppose I always aimed to put that saying to the test. Having only enough friends to count on one hand was a little discouraging. 

..as they continued to talk about the plans and happenings that weekend, Hanna asked me what I was doing that weekend, and swiftly invited me to join them in their adventures. 
..That simple invitation to come and see, to be a part of what they were -- a group of friends-- changed everything.
I went on to do all sorts of other things, some small- others big- after obtaining that first step of self-confidence, and feeling loved and welcomed into a family of friends. That day, someone made a decision that not only affected me, but all the people I would ever meet and interact with, in some small way. 

Remember that you're here, to make choices each and every day that will either keep you walking in the light, or inching away towards darkness. In football, we always learned that life was a game of inches: One step to slow, or too fast, you don't quite catch it, one inch too short, or too far, and you don't quite make it. ..Each inch is so valuable. It's the difference between winning and losing-- between living and dying! ..Someone reached out to me, with a question- giving me an inch. And that inch became the catalyst for so many other adventures I would just begin to experience. 

Remember the worth of One.
One person.
One question.
One choice.
One decision.

It all starts
with You.

All the love,

Elder DeMille!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Shh ... Don't Tell My Mom


This week, I figured I'd just tell you that I had a mighty sweet one, and got to go bowling for the first time in what.. like 2 and a half years? Haha. It was awesome-- we went with Elder Ellsworth (my son), Elder Pettit, Elder Arrrrrredondo (as he says it), Elders Helms and Dayley, along with my companiero Elder Murdock and our (mine, Ellsworth's and Helms') recent convert, Sean!
I definitely hit my all time low of like..89? And then picked up the (really sad) winning 139 the next round. But, all said and done, it was suuuper fun. We had a blast!Later in the week we were able to do all the good missionary stuff, including teaching investigators, making cool Book-of-Mormon cases for Friendship night, teaching English class, ~ the works. Then, Saturday rolled around with transfer calls and not a single one of us are moving! Haha! However, my son Elder Ellsworth is blessing me with a GRANDSON!! Hahaha! You heard it, he's training, ladies and gentlemen! Too cool!!
Outside of that, I guess the next coolest thing is that we had interviews with President this Friday -- in our house-- and boy, it was madness.
I was able to report to him on some goals I had made (and had help making -- thank you Dawna, Annie, and Steven!!) and we got to talk about some other cool things going on in the mission. He told me how his family is being found right now as well, similar to mine, though it's all about locating his great-grandfather's history. Suuper cool. We then got to talk about how .. when I had lunch with my uncle last week, he had told me that since my Mom and Grandma are coming to Korea (they're landing in a few hours here.. haha, craaaazy!), all of my Korean relatives across Korea and Australia will be meeting in Yeoju for their annual Chuseok festivities!! ..That being said, we talked about how cool of an opportunity it would be to meet those relatives that I haven't met yet-- and President decided that I should really go. In fact, he had no problems with me going, and is basically saying I NEED to go! What a twist! So, next, next Sunday (since my mom's on the plane she doesn't know yet) , I'll be celebrating Chuseok with.. well, my MOM!!! And my Grandma Kim!! As WELL as, all of my other Korean relatives!! It'll be so fun, I'm INCREDIBLY AMPED, and feeling so blessed to have this kind of opportunity -- scary or not -- to see my Mom after such a long time, and while I'm still a real-live missionary too! Haha! Holy cow!

So, that's what's going down in the future! 

And that's all I have time for this week. Hope you had a safe flight, mom! I can't wait to see you in a few weeks!! Haha 

Love you all!!

With all the love (of course)

Elder DeMille

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Remember Your Children

Hey everyone!! 

I wish I had a lot to say today. This past week has FLOWN by, and it seems like this one will too! My mom is coming to Korea this upcoming Monday, and I'm soo excited, it's unreal! I'm so stoked for her to get a taste of our mother country again. Back to the roots!!

This week, I was inspired by the incredible example and legacy of Boyd K. Packer. I stumbled upon one of his talks from the May 2012 Conference, and wanted to share it with you -- in case you'd never read it before. I love it so much, and hope you all remember the importance of your children. 

Read it. Live it. Love it. 
Catch you next week!

"Years ago on a cold night in a train station in Japan, I heard a tap on the window of my sleeper car. There stood a freezing boy wearing a ragged shirt with a dirty rag tied about a swollen jaw. His head was covered with scabies. He held a rusty tin can and a spoon, the symbol of an orphan beggar. As I struggled to open the door to give him money, the train pulled out.

I will never forget that starving little boy left standing in the cold, holding up an empty tin can. Nor can I forget how helpless I felt as the train slowly pulled away and left him standing on the platform.

Some years later in Cusco, a city high in the Andes of Peru, Elder A. Theodore Tuttle and I held a sacrament meeting in a long, narrow room that opened onto the street. It was night, and while Elder Tuttle spoke, a little boy, perhaps six years old, appeared in the doorway. He wore only a ragged shirt that went about to his knees.

On our left was a small table with a plate of bread for the sacrament. This starving street orphan saw the bread and inched slowly along the wall toward it. He was almost to the table when a woman on the aisle saw him. With a stern toss of her head, she banished him out into the night. I groaned within myself.

Later the little boy returned. He slid along the wall, glancing from the bread to me. When he was near the point where the woman would see him again, I held out my arms, and he came running to me. I held him on my lap.
Then, as something symbolic, I set him on Elder Tuttle’s chair. After the closing prayer the hungry little boy darted out into the night.

When I returned home, I told President Spencer W. Kimball about my experience. He was deeply moved and told me, “You were holding a nation on your lap.” He said to me more than once, “That experience has far greater meaning than you have yet come to know.”

As I have visited Latin American countries nearly 100 times, I have looked for that little boy in the faces of the people. Now I do know what President Kimball meant.

I met another shivering boy on the streets of Salt Lake City. It was late on another cold winter night. We were leaving a Christmas dinner at a hotel. Down the street came six or eight noisy boys. All of them should have been at home out of the cold.

One boy had no coat. He bounced about very rapidly to stave off the chill. He disappeared down a side street, no doubt to a small, shabby apartment and a bed that did not have enough covers to keep him warm.

At night, when I pull the covers over me, I offer a prayer for those who have no warm bed to go to.

I was stationed in Osaka, Japan, when World War II closed. The city was rubble, and the streets were littered with blocks, debris, and bomb craters. Although most of the trees had been blasted away, some few of them still stood with shattered limbs and trunks and had the courage to send forth a few twigs with leaves.
A tiny girl dressed in a ragged, colored kimono was busily gathering yellow sycamore leaves into a bouquet. The little child seemed unaware of the devastation that surrounded her as she scrambled over the rubble to add new leaves to her collection. She had found the one beauty left in her world. Perhaps I should say she was the beautiful part of her world. Somehow, to think of her increases my faith. Embodied in the child was hope.

Mormon taught that “little children are alive in Christ”1 and need not repent.

Around the turn of the previous century, two missionaries were laboring in the mountains of the southern United States. One day, from a hilltop, they saw people gathering in a clearing far below. The missionaries did not often have many people to whom they might preach, so they made their way down to the clearing.

A little boy had drowned, and there was to be a funeral. His parents had sent for the minister to “say words” over their son. The missionaries stood back as the itinerant minister faced the grieving father and mother and began his sermon. If the parents expected to receive comfort from this man of the cloth, they would be disappointed.

He scolded them severely for not having had the little boy baptized. They had put it off because of one thing or another, and now it was too late. He told them very bluntly that their little boy had gone to hell. It was their fault. They were to blame for his endless torment.
After the sermon was over and the grave was covered, the elders approached the grieving parents. “We are servants of the Lord,” they told the mother, “and we have come with a message for you.” As the sobbing parents listened, the two elders read from the revelations and bore their testimony of the restoration of the keys for the redemption of both the living and the dead.

I have some sympathy for that preacher. He was doing the best he could with such light and knowledge as he had. But there is more that he should have been able to offer. There is the fulness of the gospel.

The elders came as comforters, as teachers, as servants of the Lord, as authorized ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These children of whom I spoke represent all of our Heavenly Father’s children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and … happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”2

The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent. Neither man nor woman can bear children alone. It was meant that children have two parents—both a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this one.

Long ago a woman tearfully told me that as a college student she had made a serious mistake with her boyfriend. He had arranged for an abortion. In due time they graduated and were married and had several other children. She told me how tormented she now was to look at her family, her beautiful children, and see in her mind the place, empty now, where that one child was missing.
If this couple understands and applies the Atonement, they will know that those experiences and the pain connected with them can be erased. No pain will last forever. It is not easy, but life was never meant to be either easy or fair. Repentance and the lasting hope that forgiveness brings will always be worth the effort.

Another young couple tearfully told me they had just come from a doctor where they were told they would be unable to have children of their own. They were brokenhearted with the news. They were surprised when I told them that they were actually quite fortunate. They wondered why I would say such a thing. I told them their state was infinitely better than that of other couples who were capable of being parents but who rejected and selfishly avoided that responsibility.

I told them, “At least you want children, and that desire will weigh heavily in your favor in your earthly lives and beyond because it will provide spiritual and emotional stability. Ultimately, you will be much better off because you wanted children and could not have them, as compared to those who could but would not have children.”

Still others remain unmarried and therefore childless. Some, due to circumstances beyond their control, are raising children as single mothers or single fathers. These are temporary states. In the eternal scheme of things—not always in mortality—righteous yearning and longing will be fulfilled.

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”3

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.

One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.”4

In Jerusalem, “Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”5

“Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

“And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”6

We read in the Book of Mormon of the visit of Jesus Christ to the New World. He healed and blessed the people and commanded that the little children should be brought to Him.

Mormon records, “They brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him.”7
He then commanded the people to kneel. With the children around Him, the Savior knelt and offered a prayer to our Father in Heaven. After the prayer the Savior wept, “and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

“And when he had done this he wept again.”8

I can understand the feelings expressed by the Savior toward children. There is much to be learned from following His example in seeking to pray for, bless, and teach “those little ones.”9

I was number 10 in a family of 11 children. So far as I know, neither my father nor my mother served in a prominent calling in the Church.

Our parents served faithfully in their most important calling—as parents. Our father led our home in righteousness, never with anger or fear. And the powerful example of our father was magnified by the tender counsel of our mother. The gospel is a powerful influence in the life of every one of us in the Packer family and to the next generation and the next generation and the next, as far as we have seen.

I hope to be judged as good a man as my father. Before I hear those words “well done” from my Heavenly Father, I hope to first hear them from my mortal father.

Many times I have puzzled over why I should be called as an Apostle and then as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve in spite of having come from a home where the father could be termed as less active. I am not the only member of the Twelve who fits that description.
Finally I could see and understand that it may have been because of that circumstance that I was called. And I could understand why in all that we do in the Church, we need to provide the way, as leaders, for parents and children to have time together as families. Priesthood leaders must be careful to make the Church family-friendly.

There are many things about living the gospel of Jesus Christ that cannot be measured by that which is counted or charted in records of attendance. We busy ourselves with buildings and budgets and programs and procedures. In so doing, it is possible to overlook the very spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Too often someone comes to me and says, “President Packer, wouldn’t it be nice if … ?”

I usually stop them and say no, because I suspect that what follows will be a new activity or program that is going to add a burden of time and financial means on the family.

Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected. We urge our members to show devotion to their families.

When we were first married, my wife and I decided that we would accept the children that would be born to us with the responsibility attending their birth and growth. In due time they have formed families of their own.
Twice in our marriage, at the time of the births of two of our little boys, we have had a doctor say, “I do not think you are going to keep this one.”

Both times this brought the response from us that we would give our lives if our tiny son could keep his. In the course of that offer, it dawned on us that this same devotion is akin to what Heavenly Father feels about each of us. What a supernal thought.

Now in the sunset of our lives, Sister Packer and I understand and witness that our families can be forever. As we obey the commandments and live the gospel fully, we will be protected and blessed. With our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, our prayer is that each one of our growing family will have that same devotion toward those precious little ones.

Fathers and mothers, next time you cradle a newborn child in your arms, you can have an inner vision of the mysteries and purposes of life. You will better understand why the Church is as it is and why the family is the basic organization in time and in eternity. I bear witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that the plan of redemption, which has been called the plan of happiness, is a plan for families. I pray the Lord that the families of the Church will be blessed, parents and children, that this work will roll forth as the Father intends. I bear this witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

All the love,
Elder DeMille