Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Weekly quote from Mom and Joseph's letter to Mom:

Weekly Quote:
In 1839 Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, along with others, were invited to speak to a large group in Philadelphia.  Sidney was the first to address the congregation, and in fear of offending the pee present, he spoke academically of the Church and the restoration of the gospel, defending it with passages from the Bible but avoiding references to the miraculous event of the Restoration.  Such timidity annoyed the Prophet.
When he (Sidney Rigdon) was through, brother Joseph arose like a lion about to roar;and being full of the Holy Ghost, spoke in great power, bearing testimony of the visions he had seen, the ministering of angels which he had enjoyed; and how he had found the plates of the Book of Mormon, and translated them by the gift and the power of God.  He commenced by saying: "If nobody else had the courage to testify of so glorious a record, he felt to do it in justice to the people and leave the event with God."  Many soles were gathered into the fold that night.

Be bold, not timid with the great events that you have the privilege to testify of in the name of Jesus Christ.

Joseph's Letter:

Thanks for reminding me to be bold! I will not forget it

We had our Baptism this week and the next week we should have another, the work is really great right now!

Hmmm, I don't have a lot to share but feel free to put the email I sent to Dad in the blog.

Commentary from Mom about Joseph's letter to Dad:

On my first date with Russ he told me that Joseph Smith was his hero and that he hoped to someday have a son and name him after Joseph Smith and that he would never be called Joe or Joey but always Joseph. Around thirteen years later after being married and finding myself pregnant with a boy I asked if this was Joseph.  Russ replied that he had to see him first.  After our son was born and I was holding him in my arms with Russ looking on he said, "this is Joseph".

We have often reminded Joseph of his noble name and the heritage that comes with it.  He has always liked his name and has been respectful of how he came to be called Joseph.  When he was set apart as a missionary his blessing started out with his noble name and it was powerful for all of us.

This is the letter Russ got this last week from Joseph, about his name!

Thank you, your messages are always so helpful to me!

I just want to share something that struck me while we were listening to a devotional in the MTC (I just reread it in my journal so I haven been thinking about it). David A. Bednar was giving a talk about how Individual the Gospel is (I think it was titled "one by one") and to emphasize the point he mentioned that the First Word spoken by God in this Dispensation was "Joseph" because he cares for each of us individually. This obviously had the additional meaning for me that my name is the First Word of this dispensation.

After that I went and read everything I could in the scriptures about anyone that bears my name, I couldn't find one example of unrighteous behavior from any of the Josephs in the scriptures ( Joseph of Egypt, son of Lehi, step father of Jesus, Joseph of Armathiea)They were all placed in very perilous situations and often subject to great temptations. Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Lamen and Lemual, the law that Mary should have been stoned, and even Joseph of Armathiea, who was a member of the Sanhedrin that demanded the death of Jesus, was the only member we know of (at least that I know of) that spoke out against the unjust sentence and then did what he could to help the followers of Jesus afterwards. Of course we cannot forget the man that "has done more save Jesus only" for mankind.

This stood out to me as my name is one that has always been bore by men that stood with the lord at all times in all places and was a real eye opener for me that I need to become like these men and honor the name That I have. I will not forget that my setting apart blessing told me to remember these people and become like them.  

This is the wonderful letter from Russ that Joseph is responding to:

    Joseph Smith received a visit from an heavenly messenger on the 21st of September 1823. That’s 193 years ago this month. 
That visitor was Moroni; the last prophet to hold the gold plates in his mortal hands. His assigned task from heaven was to teach 
Joseph and prepare him to take those gold plates, keep them secure and translate according to the commands of heaven.

     What did Moroni teach Joseph? Moroni taught by quoting several scriptures. One concept that I suppose is little understood by 
most people is what I want to write about today.

Moroni quoted Joel 2:28-32
     28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters 
shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
     29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
     30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
     31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
    32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in 
Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

     Just imagine the spiritual power promised in these first two verses. If the membership of the Church have such rich spiritual 
outpourings available to all, the old and young even the servants and/or handmaids (symbolizing the ‘lowest classes’ of society). 
This blessing is available to all. OR all that want to take time to learn the Lords way.

    What was the reason for this promised outpouring of the spirit? To prepare man for the “great and the terrible day of the Lord”.
It is a common belief that ‘Great’ and ‘terrible’ describe the perspective of each person witnessing the 2nd coming. 
Great’ for the righteous but ‘terrible’ for the wicked. Others teach that it is ‘great and terrible’ for everyone. That ‘great’ 
refers to the extreme, large or overwhelmingly “terrible day” that will be filled with fear at the 2nd coming.

     This later description is possibly supported by the verses preceding it. wonders in the heavens and in the earth”.
These seem interesting. But what wonders? The rest of the descriptions seem like they would be very likely to induce fear. 
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke, the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. These seem like fear 
inducing wonders to me.
      But then the promise follows that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (vs32). But this next 
statement is what I want to focus on. “for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance”. That is the promise, from the 
Lord, to us in the later-days. It is a promise given through Joel approximately 800-850 B.C. or over 2800 years ago.
     What does “in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance” mean? Well there is a wonderful example of this very event 
that has already occurred in past history. I’ll get back to this event in just a moment.

     First we have to read Moses chapter 5. Verse 18 teaches us that Cain loved Satan more then God. Further, Cain was jealous 
that his brother Able was respected by the Lord while Cain was not (see vs 20). Cain receives advice from Satan and not from 
God and because of this God tells him that he be known as “Perdition” from that time forward (see vs 21-24). 
Cain plots destruction of his brother and forms a conspiracy with Satan AND his some of Cains own ‘brethren (see vs 28-29) . That conspiracy was for the purpose of getting gain and because it was done in secret and for personal gain Cain became 
known as “Master Mahan” (see vs 30-32).
The term ‘master mahan’ has no known definite translation but is by most LDS scholars taken to mean ‘master mind’, ‘master 
destroyer’ and ‘great one’.  That last title (great one) as though he could displace God who truly is the “Great One”, or as though he might be equal to God. 
     The conspiracy formed led to the death of the righteous Able. And Cain then declared “I am free”. He felt as though he had 
received great increase as his brothers flocks were now his (see vs 32-33). 
     It is interesting to note that the wickedness that Cain portrayed and that people of similar beliefs since that time even down to 
this day have is the false concept “I am free”. Later when Cain realizes that God knows what he did and receives what his 
punishment will be he declares “my punishment is greater than I can bear.” This is the same punishment that everyone from his 
day until that great and terrible last day, who practices evil, will receive. All of them will go from “I am free” to “my punishment 
is greater than I can bear.” That may be why it is the “great and terrible day of the Lord”.

     Cain has descendants who go on and practice this same conspiracy and 7 generations later Lamech (see v 43) is born. 
Lamech becomes “Master Mahan” in his day (see vs 49) and seeks gain through this same conspiracy and then kills, not just for 
gain “but slew him for the oath’s sake.” He killed to protect the Oath made between Satan and Lamech’s brotheren that practiced 
the oath with him (see vs 49-51).  

     While this great wickedness was happening a second genealogy line was happening. Moses chapter 6 records this line. 
Adam has a son known as Seth. Seth has a son and so on until 7 generations after Adam Enoch is born. 
This line was our righteous forefathers. Enoch’s father, Jared, taught him in “all the ways of God” (see vs 21). 
Enoch become a preacher of righteousness, all his forefathers were preachers of righteousness (see vs 23). 
     So the scene is now set. There are greatly wicked men and very righteous men on the earth. Wars ensue. People have to 
decide which side they want to join. Enoch builds his own city and many righteous people join him there. In Moses 7:13 the 
wicked “come to battle against them”. But this war is different then most. Enoch “spake the word of the Lord, and the earth 
trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; 
and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness”... and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch”...
The righteous were protected by God. We cannot tell for sure if the righteous had an army or not. But we do know for sure that 
God was on their side. “so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off .” ( see Moses 7:13) 
    Picture that moment in your mind, the righteous city of Enoch and these evil peoples that hated them just standing far off  looking at the 
city and not being able to wreak the destruction they want upon that city. The conspiracy is checked at that moment. It cannot touch 
those protected by God.
     The name of the city is Zion. AND this brings us back to Moroni teaching Joseph. Moroni quotes many scriptures and 
one is Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount 
Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” I take great 
courage in the fact that my son is a “preacher of righteousness”; that he stands for the truths of God taught by his father as Enoch was.
AND that he stands for the truths taught by the prophets. That he stands in “mount Zion” where there “shall be deliverance”. 
     Finally, I would like to point out that “the remnant whom the Lord shall call” are those who hear His voice, feel the promptings 
of the spirit, dream His given dreams and follow His chosen leaders. The “remnant” are those not deceived by Satan and his 
followers. The “remnant” are the humble preachers of truth that bear whatever the Lords requires of them with love and trust. 
And in the last day the “remnant” are those protected by the Lord. And the day that follows that last day??? That is the day that 
the “remnant” find themselves on the right hand of God with his sheep - while the goats (the wicked) find themselves on 
His left hand and are looking for a place to hide and are declaring “my punishment is more then I can bear”. The wicked are as 
Alma taught, wishing “that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in
 the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.” (see Alma 36:15). 

     Joseph, you are on the front line of this war between righteousness and wickedness. We use our mortal agency to chose.
We either listen to the good spirit or the evil spirit. We receive our final award according to the spirit we “listeth to obey”. 
I am glad that you have placed yourself on the Lords side. I believe that trials will come in your life because “God will have 
a tried people”. Those with trials either humble themselves and their hearts OR they harden themselves and their hearts. I believe
that trials will soften your heart if you let them and humble you to your knees so that the Lord can comfort you, if you so desire. 

     Joseph Smith was taught by heavenly messengers or messages from heaven. We are like Joseph in that we can have the 
Lord “pour out [His] spirit upon [us] all... and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy..., your old men shall dream dreams, 
your young men shall see visions” and upon all the righteous “will I pour out my spirit.” We are like Joseph in that we too can 
receive messages from heaven. It has happened in olden times and has been promised to us in the latter-days. It has been promised for centuries.

Love you,

Heres the pictures from last week:

I made a chess board

 We had a visitor

Above the sink at the assistants

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I believe this is the Kambeke branch cleaning up at a medical center for Mormon Helping hands project.


Letter to mom

Answering Mom's questions:  Sacrament meeting is supposed to be in English, as that's the official language of the church in Kenya, but many times depending on how well the speakers know English they will talk in Swahili or kamba (the local tribal language)

I baptized Diana in English but I did make an attempt to learn the baptism prayer in Swahili, they wanted it in English though.

Elder Otika is funny, his favorite movies were Pirates of the Caribbean and he quotes them obsessively.He is a decent cook (at least by my standards) and has taught me how to make several different Kenyan dishes. His favorite food is Mutungo (or something) which is Cow intestine, I think its disgusting.
(Mom's comment: So I wonder if he actually tried it!)

Next week we have another baptism! Mutiso (apparently I have been spelling his name wrong) is ready and seems to be excited  for the baptism. The week after that Danielle, our new investigator should be getting baptized.She seems very ready for it as well and as far as we can tell there won't be any issues.

This last week we went to Nairobi for the mission tour.  We had Kevin S. Hamilton of the Quorum of the Seventy speak to us along with President Msane and their wives.

Elder Hamilton is the Area President for southeast Africa and gave a very good talk about Exaltation.
Then we had about 40 minutes or so where he answered questions that we had.

A few points that stood out to me:
-our mission is to bring Exaltation to God's children (Elder Hamilton)

 -God saved us for the last days because he trusts us to be part of his final harvest (Sister Msane)

 -We are suppose to focus our efforts on English speakers, so while learning Swahili is a useful tool that I should work towards, I don't have to stress if it is causing me trouble. (Elder Hamilton) This point really stood out to me especially since when we did the Q and A part of the tour we made a list of topics we would like him to talk about and this was the first thing he chose to speak on.

After the speakers I was privileged to have an interview with President Msane. I really like him and he has been a great help to me

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Letter to Mom
Grandma sold the house?! hmmm......

Not sure how I feel about that....

Anyway I'm glad you have had a good experience with your fast! Its always great to have such an awesome group of friends to surround yourself with. I have also tried to remember you in all my prayers so you have some international faith on our side as well :P

Sorry about the brief letter last week, the internet glitched and deleted the letter I wrote before I could send it, it was rather frustrating haha!

Last week the baptism went well, I Performed the baptism for Dianna and it was a very sweet experience (although the font was Freezing, I felt sorry for her as she was shivering for the next hour it seemed) this week her dad confirmed her a member, he gave the blessing in Kamba (the local tribal language) so I couldn't understand anything.

Meteso our investigator is progressing Awesomely and is almost ready to be baptized! We have had several great lessons with him and he is very willing to learn. Thursday we walked to his place, it is about 10 km away from where we leave and it took us about 2 hours of brisk walking to make it. Needless to say afterward we were very tried but we had a good lesson and were able to catch a bus back home.

On Friday we went to a town called Machakos to pick up our allotments, they had a super market! it was so nice to be able to walk into a proper store and find anything we wanted. I immediately bought 2 small tubs of butter (I have been missing butter sorly as it isn't available in Kyambeke)

This Sunday after our meetings we meet with him again. After we taught him a member introduced us to another investigator, Danielle, who had taken a couple lessons from other missionaries while she was out of town and wanted to learn more. She is now on date to be baptized the 25th of September. It is truly amazing how easy missionary work is when the members are involved. They just bring us people and we baptize them! Always remember the work that you can do as a member missionary.

This week we are going to Nairobi for a"mission tour" which is basically a large conference I think. Anyway we will be there for 3 days

Commentary by Mom: Dad didn't get a letter this week. Joseph was told if he was short on time to spend it on my letter and I'm not complaining.  
Although Joseph is writing in English I'm noting I need a translator. ie pick up our allotments at a proper store since he's "sorly" missing butter :P  And how far is 10 km anyway?
May I make mention again for the plug for member missionaries.  I will try harder.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


On Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 4:14 PM, Joseph Russell Butters <joseph.butters@myldsmail.net> wrote:
Our baptism did go through and we set our investigator (Meteso) on date for sep. 18.

I am glad you had a good time with your "family reunion". Our time was cut short today so I don't have a lot to say but here are some pictures (hopefully)

I have no explanation but will ask.  Looks like a hobbit's day.


This is a panorama of the hills.  When you blow it up you can see how steep they are and also all the terrace farming on the hillsides.

The yellow bottle is my sunscreen, I want to point out it says "keep out of excessive heat or sun"

Mom's Commentary:  It looks like Joseph is working hard and hasn't lost his sense of humor.