Saturday, July 10, 2010

Latter Day Miracles and Eternal Friends

First, I want to say, for those of you in was such a blessing for us to be able to meet many of you. We love you with that love that only the gospel can bring. We are grateful to each of you who assisted Elder Layton over the past two years, as well as those of you who befriended us while we spent time in your wonderful land. We feel as if we have made friends who will continue as friends throughout the eternities.

What a marathon of a trip! At least it was a marathon for Brenda and I. Sean thought it was dragging a bit. The Peruvians are a beautiful and prepared people. They are full of love and were a shining example to me personally.

We met dozens of families and individuals that Sean had worked with. We were able to put faces with names see the places and walk the streets that he had walked while he served. 

Brenda didn't speak much Spanish, but I was able to watch and understand the emotions as he said goodbye to each of the people we visited. My personal highlight probably had to be watching the interaction between Sean and each of those individuals and families who had been converted during his service. His concern was that each of them continued to walk in the paths that had been laid out...of attending Church services regularly, of praying and scripture study regularly and of holding consistent Family Home Evenings. It strikes me that those are the very same things that I need to do in order to continue to progress.

Some of his friends had a hard time understanding why he had to leave, or why he was ending his missionary service. So each time we met with another family, he would explain what he was doing and why he wouldn't be around for quite awhile. So there were a lot of tears and joy all mixed in together. All I know is that living in the day of Facebook and email made it much easier than it would have been otherwise.

Of course, no visit to Peru should be without a visit to Machu Picchu. We spent 2 days in Cuzco and Aguascalientes. Machu Picchu had to be the most spectacular scene I had ever seen. It is really the name of the ruins that are in the immediate area. The pictures we usually see are of the most area of Machu Picchu, and the area most visited by tourists. 

Not only was the setting in the Andes literally indescribable, the ruins themselves were hard to adequately describe. Pictures don't do it justice. Machu Picchu is actually the name given by Hiram Bingham, the Yale University professor who discovered  it (it was already known to the local residents) in the early 1900s. The original name had been lost. The Quechua name of Machu Picchu was given by Hiram Bingham and means "Old Mountain". Do you see the face hidden in the mountain in the picture above? 

We were left with a better education of the Inca civilization. Brenda and I were amazed at their ingenuity, work ethic and culture. What an amazing people! How they moved those stones in place, and how they engineered and crafted exact precision from 100+ ton boulders, was beyond my ability to grasp.

Of course, the gold, pottery and other valuables had been taken long before, but we were able to see large areas that were reported to have been covered in gold. Since the setting was designed to take full advantage of the sun, it was incredible to think about what the site must have looked like at it's peak. It would have been a city of Gold, just like the Spaniards were looking for.

All of the things I had read about and seen pictures of were right there...the llamas walking around the site, the stones cut so tightly that you couldn't fit a piece of paper between them, the legends of the Incas, the spectacular backdrop settings of the Andes Mountains, and much more. Like I said, it was probably the most spectacular thing I had ever seen.

On our last day there, we were able to attend a session at the Lima temple. Like all temples, it was beautiful and peaceful. 

Our session was in Spanish. Most of the temple workers who were there while we were there were English speaking missionaries, who are called to serve in the temple. The grounds were immaculate, the building was somewhat in the design of several other temples, including Las Vegas and Portland...only somewhat smaller.

After leaving the temple, we tried to see a local light display and the catacombs. Both were closed. So we ended up just going to the airport a bit early.

Our flight home included a layover stop in Houston, and then to our final destination to Portland. From Portland we drove back to Bend where Sean's family and good friend Nate Rau were all waiting. Briana had made the trip over to Bend from BYU-Idaho, so she could be there. Eric was working, but joined us a couple of hours later. Sean still is about 1/2 inch taller than Eric, much to Eric's disgust.

Elder Layton was officially released as a missionary this morning by President Rau.

We would like to thank all of you who have supported Elder Layton while on his mission with letters, packages and prayers. He recognizes how blessed he is to have good family and friends who love him and who would do anything to be able to help. 

This work is true. Elder Layton was one representative of many thousands who take 2 years away from their personal interests at a time when they could be focusing on school, friends and self. But they do it because they represent the Lord in a work that will not be denied. They love the Lord and His kingdom. They leave as teenagers and return as men, valiant for the truth. Missions are never duplicated and not easily described. But they are a very real part of the lives of each young man, young woman, and their families for this life and for eternity. More importantly, they are a part of bringing the Lord's work to pass in the Latter days, through changing the lives of millions. Watching all of this take place over the past 2 years has been nothing less than miraculous for Sean and his family. 

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
con su voz el os sostenga,
su amor el os descubra,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
con sus brazos el os cubra,
su amor el os descrubra,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey, 
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
cuando el temor os venga,
en sus brazos el os tenga,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos,

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos
que os guie su bandera,
que la muerte no os hiera,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.
Lyrics: Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos, La Iglesia de
Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thoughts As We Set Out For Peru

Brenda and I just finished packing for our trip to Peru. It's late, but I felt to add something to the Blog.

This experience has been an incredible blessing for our family. We've definitely seen Sean change - grown up and up and up. He is coming home as a man of God. He has been a devoted missionary who loves the people and His Heavenly Father.

We realize that this is no different from the thousands of other missionaries who complete their missions each year, but for us it is. For us, this has been such an incredible and personal thing.

I would strongly encourage any LDS young man or woman to serve a mission. If you serve for the right reasons, you will never be the same. The people whose lives you bless will never be the same either.

For those who are not members of the Church (and I know you're out there because several of you have written to us), please consider the potential blessings the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ would have for you and your family. We cordially invite you to come unto the blessings that Jesus Christ has for you. Contact the missionaries, your LDS neighbor, or Brenda or I, and let us show you how the truth of all things can be made plainly manifest to you.

Finally, I came across a passage of scripture tonight - it just so happened - that fit so perfectly for the conclusion of Sean's mission.

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be." (1 Nephi 13:37)

I am confident that Sean has served his mission faithfully, that lives have been altered for all eternity, and that many descendants of Lehi will rise up and call him blessed for his service.

In about 2 hours, Brenda and I will head to our home ward in Bend. Sean's good friend, Nate Rau, is speaking. He returned from his mission in Rosario, Argentina last Wednesday. After Sacrament Meeting, Curtis will have the Aaronic Priesthood conferred and he will be ordained as a Deacon. We will then head to Portland for a stay overnight and then off to Peru - leaving very early.

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Me, God Is a God of Miracles

Like Father...

Like Son...
Good Morning!!! Buenos Dias!!!

It's getting way to close for comfort.  I hope that my small experiences I've had have somehow helped some of you, because I`ve been blessed personally by them.  For those who really know me know I'm not exactly the best storyteller in the world so I know my letters haven't done justice to what I've really experienced here in Peru.  I would like to testify of the miracles I've seen throughout these two years.  One time I heard that for God, there are no miracles because he comprehends all things.  He's brought to pass all these things.  He's given me the strength to open my mouth, to work, to understand, to baptize.  So to me, God is a God of miracles.   I don't understand how the people I've known have changed, I don't understand why I’ve been blessed with faithful parents and a beautiful family, I don't understand why I have to leave the mission, and I definitely don't understand how God has brought to pass so many miracles in my life and the lives of others. 
Our testimony is so important for each one of us, because it can help us serve diligently our Heavenly Father. 
“yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us, and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, as in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually
We had the baptism of Mabel Oviedo this week.  In the baptism service Lupe, the mother of Mabel, gave her testimony of how happy she is to see her entire family entire the waters of baptism.  Last week Valentina had to reschedule her baptism for Tuesday.  She knows Thursday`s my last day in Barranca and I’m glad she chose Tuesday!  Last night we had a family night with the Oviedo Cornelio family.  We watched the testaments.  Lupe had invited her mom to come and also a niece that lives in another part of Peru.  They were all crying at the end of the movie and then we taught them about the Book of Mormon.  It was very spiritual for all of us… maybe cause I was just about to cry, or maybe because I just felt happy to be there and not anywhere else. 
This is off topic-
What am I going to do what I go home?  I'm not ready for this…. Work, hang out with Nate, go on visits with the missionaries, ahhh!  I wonder if I'm tan relatively speaking?  Of course when I go back to Oregon I might turn completely pale again… what else.  The food!  I want to eat a Wendy's Big BaconClassic and dip the fries in the frosty!!!Honestly I'll miss the Peruvian food here a ton- more the love put into the food than the food itself...
Things I won't miss:  ticks, drunks chasing after me, and public urination
Things I WILL miss:  THE PERUVIANS!!!, being “elder”, teaching the gospel to everybody, being in a place where things are simpler, having experiences in the mission, paying almost nothing for something, not having to choose what clothes to wear, the jungle, my monkey!!
So President Gonzalez is now the 1st counselor in our branch and yesterday he asked me to give my testimony in Sacrament meeting because it was my last Sunday in Barranca.  I talked about fathers, and the mission work.  It made me remember the talk before the mission but this time I actually knew what I was talking about more or less. 
Well, I love you all very much I'm still working like normal, pray for the Peruvians, see you soon,
Elder Layton

Monday, June 14, 2010

Something They Had Been Looking For

Dear Family and Friends

I'd just like to start out by saying that if you're reading this just know that I`m writing this to you, since it'd be kind of frustrating to write everyone….just know I haven't completely forgotten about you…, but honestly let's hang out when I get back! Right now I'm still a missionary. I've been having a ton of experiences lately, and I don't really know where to start.

(At left: The Barranca Zone at Fortaleza...Elder Layton crouching in the lower middle with Elder Ortiz, his companion, directly behind him)

There are 5 assistants APs right now because the mission's dividing. 3 of them came to visit us on Thursday. I went with one of them, my companion with another, and another went with our district leader.

We baptized Sabino Montes on Saturday and he was confirmed yesterday. We taught him in an extremely short time period because he was so eager to be baptized…I've never really had an investigator exactly like him. We visited him every day last week and he was just anxious for it to be Saturday. He read everything we gave him and he didn't want to wait for the 2nd assistance (attendance) at church. Who am I to tell a fully grown adult no to such a desire? Or who am I to deny the blessing of the eternal gospel to someone so prepared to be clean of sin? The greatest thing is that yesterday we officially have a mission leader and an assistant mission leader. The assistant Gerson (son of Lupe and Walter) is friends with Sabino. He also has some other friends in the church.

We found a gold family this week, mom, dad, and two daughters. They've been going to different churches, God is Love, Evangelical, Adventist, looking for a church where the pastor doesn't yell. They were surprised to hear our description of the feelings of the spirit when we read Galatas 5:22-23. It was something they had been looking for. They didn't go to church because of a commitment already planned out before we knew them but I'm sure this week they'll go!

Here in Peru the Soccer World Cup is huge. I don't know how many little flyers I have of the world cup phases, who's playing who….and everyone just yelled right now as I'm writing this that Japan just won their game. Yesterday all the people were telling me that my country tied England. Hmm…. You better be watching it back at home I'm pretty sure we're going to make it to the finals!!

Please pray for all the investigators. Elder Ortiz and I will be visiting them constantly this week. Valentina (the niece of Walter and Lupe) is preparing for her baptism this Saturday! Also we set a baptism date with Mabel Oviedo the sister of Gerson (daughter of Walter and Lupe) which is a MIRACLE!!! She had a baptism date with the evangelic church she`s been going to for June 21st, but she's been going to the church of Jesus Christ with her family and we set a baptism date for the 19th!!

I'm sorry I can't right more……I always don't have enough time to write.

Adios Amigos!!!!

Elder Layton

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just an Average Contact

Dearest Family,

What's up? I'm happy to be able to write you all today! We're going to the FORTALEZA today to play futbol - I mean soccer and to eat food and stuff. Hmmm…. This has been a good week. The Sifuentes family went to church but still don't all have baptism dates. We found a guy named Sobino Montes on Saturday just an average contact, but he asked if he could get baptized the same day!!! We told him he had to go to church first haha. My companion and I live right next to the church. We were busy visiting some investigators before 9:00 to help them get to church and it surprised us when we got there just on time and Sobino was waiting outside the doors of the church.

Last night we were contacting and found two young men, Carliño and his cousin Jose. I told Carliño that I'd never heard his name before and he told me it was Portugese….hmmm, I wonder if Elder Briggs knows any Carliño's. They both committed to baptism and Carliño's dad walked in as we were finishing so we have his baptism permission slip signed and everything but another appt. to teach the dad and the whole family too. They have family that are members in another branch here in Barranca which is cool because they knew a tiny bit about the church already. Carliño honestly was so prepared I couldn't believe it. He's been baptized in a Evangelical church and everything but he soaked in the restoration and told his dad, “please sign my permission form.” The funny part was that in his house there was a ton of chili pepper in the air from their farm. Everybody was coughing the whole time and my companion couldn't finish talking so I had to finish talking for him. He was like: Prophets are called of our Heavenly Father in every….caaaaaaa….every dispencccccccaaaaa............. the lesson was great.

Actually we've known a ton of Peruvians with weird names lately…. Sobino, Carliño, Valentina Valetin, Frenesis, etc..

Yesterday I gave my testimony in sacrament meeting…. And it was sad because I realized it was the last time I'd do that in my mission. I'm talking about sacrament meeting. Honestly we're having too many experiences I`m just not ready to give up. From here on out all this month we're doing missionary nights all Thursday s to help the members invite friends and family to get to know the church so I'll let you know how that goes.

So I'm out of time, have a GREAT DAY!

Elder Layton

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tap Tap Tap

Dearest Family,

So many things happened this week! Let´s see…..

First of all I don't think I've told you much about my companion!!! I have to introduce him to everyone so it feels like I've already told you but I really haven't. My last companion in the mission's name is Elder ORTIZ!!! He's from Tarija, Bolivia, the same place that Elder Garnica's from. He's soo cool. His dad passed away when he was 12 years old, and left his mom with 8 kids to take care of. His mom isn't a member of the church, but his older brother is less-active. His three little brothers and sisters are all active members. Like I said, he's soo cool.

I did a work visit with our district leader Elder Davila. We set a baptism date in his area with a young man named John who is awesome. He's 22 years old and told us he wants to serve a mission.

In our area we set two more baptism dates this week. One of them has the coolest name EVER!!! She's the cousin of Gerson (or the niece of Walter and Lupe). Her name is Valentina Valentin and guess when her birthday is? That's right…February 14th . I give her a hard time. Today she's going to a church activity with all the youth, which will be awesome. We're also preparing Eva Sifuentes for baptism. She's the friend and reference of Gerson. Gerson's my best friend. Also we have some other baptism dates and progressing investigators.

When we teach the Sifuentes family something crazy always happens!!!! First of all one time we were teaching in the middle of the lesson a cat jumped through the window with a huge rat in its mouth and they were fighting until we watched the cat slowly kill its prey…. ANOTHER TIME when we were teaching the Sifuentes family in the middle of the lesson we heard some knocks at the door. Tap tap tap…. Tap tap tap…. Until one sister got up and opened the door. It was getting dark out and a little cold, and a mother duck with her 8 ducklings entered followed by a few chickens and a dog….. apart from that every time we go to the house of the Sifuentes their dog tries to kill us. I'm serious. Of all the crazy dogs I've met in Peru, this one would reserve the right to be called the devil; it´s almost killed us a dozen times.

I'm continuing to have lots of experiences here and the zone is done really well. The missionaries are all happy.

I like the scripture in Mosiah 28:3 in the book of Mormon where it says:

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish.

I know that we need to desire the same thing for everyone.

Your son and friend

Elder Layton

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Should Help Everyone We Know


I´m not going to be able to write that much I was filling out a calendar that the offices wanted with the zone plans of this transfer.

This last transfer is going to be the best!! Early Wednesday we traveled to Lima for the transfers, I stayed in Elder Ridge´s place for the night and Thursday was my last zone leader conference…L and we talked president into letting us stay for the meeting in the peru MTC on Friday (CCM), the ZL´s in the jungle had to travel back to their areas on Thursday night so we lucked out because we got to listen to Elder Jenson from the Presidency of the Seventy!!! I forgot my notes so I can´t tell you everything he said, but it was the BEST!!! He first talked about the power of hymns, and told us the story about Called to Serve, and then he talked about the priesthood.

I think I´ve been teaching apostasy my entire mission because I often say that in the grand (in Spanish the word for "great" is "gran") apostasy the priesthood was taken off the earth…..hmmm…. sounds okay, but according to Elder Jenson, the priesthood has NEVER been taken off the earth, and has been here since the creation….but then he explained that during the apostasy, the priesthood keys were lost, which is the right to use that power and preside the church and exercise all the ordinances of the gospel. So since then I´ve simply telling people that during this time people couldn´t get baptized. Haha. The keys today are meticulously protected by the first presidency and the quorum of the 12 apostles whom are the ONLY men on earth that possess ALL the keys of the kingdom.

The zone is doing well. All the missionaries are excited to work this transfer and I have to verify their baptism dates como loco so not one falls. We´re going to have the missionaries carry around a different object every week that helps them remember 1 principal, like diligence, obedience, etc… also every Wednesday we´re going to do a supercharged day where they set really high goals and in the night we call them to see what the results were. We´re going to some different ruins this transfer called FORTELEZA, we´re going to a synthetic soccer field, and other things.

“And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindred’s, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth and with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite thee earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. “ (2 Nephi 8-10)

Remember to always read the scriptures, pray, and do what you have to do.

I love the gospel. We should help everyone we know to know what we know.

Bye bye,

Elder Layton

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Love the Mission With All of My Heart

Saludos mis Queridos Hermanos,
Thanks for the picture mom!  Jesse and Logan look the same…. Briana, more grown up and very beautiful.
So here´s the news:  I´m dying here in Barranca... which in missionary language means I´m ending my two year mission here, eating Pizza.  So needless to say, I´m content.  Honestly i´m excited because we found the Sifuentes family and they went to church and several of them want to get baptized already although they haven't accepted baptism dates YET. 
Yesterday was District Conference.   President and Sister Perez (my mission president and his wife) came to speak and also Elder Davila from the seventy.  They rearranged the new District Presidency…so President Gonzalez isn´t actually President Gonzalez anymore.   It was a good experience.  I played piano for the congregation and the choir which was fun, and then in the afternoon we had the baptism and confirmation of Martha.  Hans was in the water but started to scream NO QUIERO NO QUIERO NO QUIERO!!!  Obviously you would think it would be easy to help him get over his fear of water….but the kid´s never swam in his life, and sadly he wasn´t able to go through with it. 
Today in the morning we woke up early to send Elder Huaman to Lima, alone…which was kind´ve weird.  He´s ending his mission.  Also this week we had a work visit with the Assistants because President Perez couldn´t come for interviews like he normally does for the conference, but it was good.  Elder Martelo my kid that´s 26 is the new assistant so it was great to see him again.  We´re learned a lot.  Also Zoila the sister of Margarita came back from traveling on mother´s day and her boyfriend whom she was living with had completely packed up and had left, so she´s all excited now that she can get baptized. 
There are a ton of challenges that the members face here in Barranca….and I would say most of them stem from their financial situations.  There´s a part here in my zone where the people work all day and get payed 10 soles at the end of the day, which would add up to about 3-4 dollars a day.  With kids that doesn´t go anywhere.  Of course where I´m at it´s a little bit more developed…  President Perez gave an awesome talk yesterday to all the members.  First he told us that “ our purpose here is not to have a stake, no!  That will be the result of what you do”
He taught the members this:  that to have a stake, or a strong ward, it starts in the home.  Then he gave us 4 steps to be able to grow here in small Barranca:
1 Believe en the purifying love of Jesus Christ
2. Understand that the small constant things are big (I kind´ve missed the second point) – he talked about pride that we must have family inventory, pray, and study the scriptures.
3.  Family Home Evening
4. Do NOT stop living the law of tithing.  President told us we shouldn´t think of this as paying tithing, but living the law of tithing.  
Of course this was specific for the people here in Barranca but it would apply in strengthening every family.  If we follow these four steps we´ll be ready for anything really, as we do them with diligence. 
I´m will be forever blessed for the experiences that I´m having right now…. And I love the mission with all my heart.  Now it´s my last transfer and I´m worried because looking back I wonder, am I really the missionary I always imagined?  Well…. To be 100% honest I went into the mission with little or no idea of what I was doing, or what I wanted to become…it was more like a responsibility that I always wanted to complete.  But I really don´t have regrets.  I´m not perfect but I´ve been striving to be.  I know I love the people here, and I feel closer to my Heavenly Father every day so that´s what makes me know that I´m doing well.  But just so you know, I now know what I´m doing and know what I want to become, and instead of trying to fulfill a responsibility I´m trying to fulfill a promise that I´ve made and I enjoy doing it. 
Thanks for all the support and chocolate that you´ve given me,
Your son, friend, nephew, grandson, etc,
Elder layton

Monday, May 10, 2010

Complex Chiasms and the Baptism of Margarita

I loved talking with you all!!! it was the best.  I even got to talk with Jesse and Logan, but for only 2 seconds.... thanks for everything really.  it meant a lot and I´m just really happy. 

We had the baptism service of Margarita.  She´s the best, her sister Zoila came and everything.  The baptism was really good a lot of people came which was a relief for having such a small branch.

I was studying Alma 42 the other day in spanish and i remembered that chiasmus was found in this chapter so i started putting it down on paper.....and holy cow.... i thought alma 36 was cool.  honestly I was taken back by what i found....there are 5 complex chaiasms put into 1!!!! so of course i feel like a nerd cause I just spent an hour trying to put it all into English.   


1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
  2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence they were taken—yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—
  3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—
  4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.
  5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.
  6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.
  7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
  8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
  9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.
  10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.
  11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
  12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
  13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
  14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
  15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
  16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.
  17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
  18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.
  19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?
  20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.
  21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
  22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
  23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
  24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
  25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.
  26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
  27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.
  28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.
  29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
  30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
  31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.


A) my son,
   B) justice of God in the punishment of the sinner
      C) sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
          D) having no space for repentance
            E) became subjects to follow after their own will.
               F) God would cease to be God.

                  G1) were in the grasp of JUSTICE; yea, the justice of God
         H1) the plan of mercy
I1) atonement
I1)atoneth for the sins of the world
         H1)bring about the plan of mercy,
                 G1) demands of justice

        G2) repentance could not come unto men…
                        H2) punishment….should be, affixed  
                           I2) except he should sin?
                              J2) there was no law?
                                 K2) …there was a punishment?
                                 K2)there was a punishment affixed..
                              J2) no law given
                           I2) sinned
                       H2) punishment affixed
                    G2) repentance granted…

                 G1) JUSTICE claimeth the creature and executeth the law…
              F) and God would cease to be God.

         H1) mercy claimeth…
                        penitent, and mercy cometh because of the
                           I1) atonement
                           I1) atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead…  
                    H1) mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly…
                       penitent are saved.

             F)God would cease to be God.
           E) freely; (own will) and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come…
        D)has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him…
     C) let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
  B)I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more.  31 And now,
A)O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people.

I love this chapter!!! If you take a look at the two different chiasms on either side of the center one you´ll find that similar to Alma 36 the center idea is the atonement of Jesus Christ which is absolutely beautiful.  Now if you notice, in the center of the entire chiasm you´ll see that Alma was talking about how´s there´s a punishment afixed to sin, which is accurately intertwined with what Alma was adressing to his son - the justice of God.  We then of course understand as we travel farther out from the center that Mercy is given to those who repent, and then we understand that God will never cease to be God, and he is just and merciful.  I´ve learned these things so many times in the mission. 

Something else i learned yesterday when I went to the scripture guide in the back of my spanish scriptures:  The title "mother" is the sacred name for woman.  I´m very grateful for my mom!!!

Elder Layton