My farewell was Sunday, Aug. 23. Many friends and family came out to support me. Here is a copy of my talk:
I once heard that when people begin their talk they usually begin with either a joke or a lie. Since I don't have a joke prepared I guess I'll start by saying that I'm really happy to be here today. Morning Brothers and Sisters, My name is Jaxson Toly, I've been in the Mountain Heights ward/ for many years now and I am leaving this week on mission in the Toronto Ontario mission. 2 weeks ago Brother Flemming came to give my topic to which I would be speaking on for my farewell. Anticipation was great as I was really excited to receive my topic. But rather than tell me my topic he shows me a piece of paper. I look down and read Jacob 5: Allegory of the olive tree. I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised but hey I could have been speaking to you today on the law of chastity so I guess I should count my blessings. An allegory is basically a metaphor which is a comparison or where one thing represents another. Now you know what an allegory is I'll tell you the story. There once was an olive tree vineyard which represents the earth. There too was a master of the vineyard who is Jesus Christ. Now in this vineyard there was a tame olive tree and other wild olive trees. When the master came to see the tame olive tree he saw that it was dying and being a good master he tended to it by pruning and fertilizing it, throwing the bad branches into fire, taking the good branches and placing them about the vineyard to grow and then proceeded to graft branches from the wild trees to the tame olive tree. For those who don't know what grafting is when you take a branch of tree or plant and attach it to another where they fill fuse and actually attach themselves and are one. The dying tree represents wickedness, the pruning and fertilizing are the Lords work, the scattering of the branches are scattering his people among the earth, the fire is the lords judgement, and the grafting of wild branches is the bringing of people to the lord and joining his people.
After this was done the master later visited again and saw that the wild branches on the tree had brought forth good fruit and also that the scattered good branches that had been planted in good fruit had brought forth both bad and good fruit. Now the fruit represents our lives and what we do in them and how we live them.
The master then visits the vineyard again and finds all the tree to have fruit that is corrupt. He then again tends to the trees and grafts branches back into the main one. This visit represent the apostasy where the truth and proper priesthood authority were taken from the earth.
For the fourth visit the master calls servants to help. Branches that had good fruit are then taken care of according to their root strength and the dying branches once again are cast into the fire. The servants then work and work until the natural branches bring good fruit and the wild ones are cast away and the vineyard is good for a long time. The fruit then goes bad again and the bad are bunt for the last time. Brothers and sisters, we are now in the middle of this fourth coming where the lords servants who are prophets and saints are attempting to help the tree become good again and save as many people before those bad branches are cast into the fire for the last time which is the second coming.
This is the part I wish to focus on which is now and would like to speak on service and missionary work.
There is a general conference talk by M. Russell Ballard which says (Read talk)
"Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”
The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”
Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”
The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”
This story illustrates the spiritual truth that Alma taught his son Helaman:
“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. …
“… And by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).
Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most."
"The Savior spoke of this principle when He answered the Pharisee who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36–40).
It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today."
"The love the Savior described is an active love. It is not manifested through large and heroic deeds but rather through simple acts of kindness and service.
There are myriad ways and circumstances in which we can serve and love others. May I suggest just a few.
First, charity begins at home. The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12)."
One example in my life of this is my parents. My mother and father. They are constantly helping and teaching and supporting my siblinngs and I and are a big reason why I am able to serve a mission and for that I'll always be in their debt.
"Another place where we have ample opportunity to serve is in the Church. Our wards and branches should be places where the Golden Rule always guides our words and actions toward each other."
An example of this is a family in our ward who I've been able to really come to respect over the years as I'm sure many of you have and that is the Rogers family. They're always helping people move and where there's an opportunity to serve, you'll be sure to find them. I remember the twins helping a member on their last day of summer with her garden when I'm sure they could have been doing anything else.
"A third area where we can serve is in our communities. As a pure expression of our love and concern, we can reach out to those who have need of our help."
An example of this in my life would have to be my coaches and teachers. They've all put in extra work for me to better myself even though they didn't have to.
"Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we can make friends with those whom we serve. From these friendships come better understanding of our devotion to the gospel and a desire to learn more about us." (End Quote)
In this talk Elder Ballard highlights on various acts of service and missionary work stating it doesn't matter the type of service whether how big or small because as it says in Mosiah 2:17 " And behold I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." No matter what we do, if it be good we are doing it for our heavenly father. It doesn't matter what you do whether it be administering to the sick, visiting the weary, opening the door for someone, or performing church responsibilities. If it be good it is sufficient. In my own life I've been blessed to see examples and read of them. some of which were prime example of service and missionary work. I'm going to say some examples and I want you to think who these people were.
This man went forth among the Lammanites who were enemies and hated his own people and wished to kill him all in an attempt to teach and serve them. When brought upon the king in shackles he impressed him so much that the king wanted him to take one of his daughters to wife to which this man replied "Nay but I will be thy servant." This man protected the kings flocks and after he had slain the kings enemies and when asked where he was it was responded he was tending to the kings horses. This man preached and served his enemies so much they became good and were called the Anti Nephi Lehies. His name was Ammon.
He began the work from the age of 14. He was an instrument in bringing forth the restored gospel, the doctrine and covenants, temples, and the translating of the Book of Mormon. He did much service and missionary work and was martyred in his service . His name was Joseph Smith.
Born in a manger he lived life with service and missionary work. From a young age he taught older men and through his life he gave service and taught many. He served man below him and provided miracles for them and acts such as washing his disciples feet where in John 13:5 it reads "And he poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded" He was scorned, mocked, criticised and despised but yet he still loved and served until he was crucified for our sins so we too could whole once again therefore performing the greatest act of service in the history of man. His name was Jesus Christ.
Through service we also better ourselves and can be made humbled which is an attribute of Christ that he demonstrated by washing his disciples feet.
Theres a story by Robert Fulghum called "The Mirror” Which is found in Chicken Soup for the Soul. and yes I read chicken soup for the soul. It starts out as such.....
The Mirror By Robert Fulgham
"Dr Popaderos, what is the meaning of life?" The usual laughter followed, and people stirred to go. Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was. "I will answer your question"
Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into a leather billfold and brought out a very small round mirror, about the size of a quarter. And what he said went like this:
"When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.
I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one, and ,by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine- in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could fine.
"I kept the little mirror ,and, as I want about my growing up I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child's game but a metaphor for what I might o with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light-truth, understanding, knowledge--is there, and it will shine in many dark places only if I reflect it.
"I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world-into the black places in the hearts of men-and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life."
Brothers and sisters this story is much like that of the olive tree in that they are both allegories. When I read it I see ourselves as the mirror. We are shaped by our lives experiences and can be made smooth through our trials. As it says in the story we are not the light, but we can radiate and reflect it into the darkest places through our acts of service and missionary work. The light is gospel and is Jesus Christ. We can be a beacon of his light and help bring it to others who do not have it and who are in desperate need of it.
In John 8:12 it says "Then spake Jesus unto them saying I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life."
As members we need to strive to perform acts of service for others and be an example to them. It is often that when you're an example people want to know why you seem different and what makes you. Many people join the church because they're impressed by the example of those providing service. Missionary work which is service it an ever growing need because we need to graft in those to the main tree and so they can bring forth good fruit or works and not be thrown into that last burning of branches. I think we have to realize that everyone here on earth are our brothers and sisters. Before we came to earth there was a division in which some did not choose to come here but to go unto Satan. It was just this year I realized that everyone living here choose the right choice to come. And it sometimes reminds me that everyone here made the same choice as I did, they are good and is why we need to bring them back to the truth so that they can to return to their Heavenly Father. In a sense we're all in this together. Some of us just have a head start.
Without this Light life would be all darkness. Scientists state that darkness is the absence of light. It has no properties and is just what happens when light is not there. We must do all we can to attain this light because without it we are truly nothing. It says In Mosiah 2:21 " I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the begining and is preserving you from day to day by lending you breath that ye may live and move and do according to your own will and even supporting you from one moment to another- I say if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants."
We truly without Christ are nothing so therefore we owe him everything. We must perform service and missionary work.
I'd like to bear my testimony to you here today that this church is true that everything in it is true and that Christ did die for our sins. If I did not believe in this than I would not be here today and would not be leaving on a mission. I have been so blessed with everything i have and to have grown up in this church and have the family and friends that I have that a two year mission pales in comparison greatly to what has been given to me. I want to bring others to this truth because I truly testify that we can be saved and I'm gonna try to bring as many people with me cause I want others to have what I have been blessed with. As it says in 3 Nephi 28;20 I hope to "Smite the earth with the Word of God". I know my missions not gonna be easy and neither is the grafting in or bringing Christ's light unto others but as it says in my favourite scripture matthew 19:26 "But Jesus beheld them and said unto them with men this is impossible but with God all things are possible. I know we can do it and I say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.